Randy Hestand

Name: Randy Hestand
Class of: 1980
Instrument Played in IHS Band: Trombone
Most Memorable Moments in the IHS Band:

Sometimes when you look back on things you did as a youngster, you now
see clearly how crazy they were.  High school kids in marching band
can be quite hard on musical instruments, and I know this from first
hand experience.  Those of us who were trombone players at IHS during
the military marching style days will remember that we used to quickly
bring down the horn during countermarches (if close to another rank)
and then quickly bring it up again while coming out of the
countermarch.  As a freshman I was taught to make the movements pretty
much as fast as possible and I later carried on the tradition and
taught freshmen to do that.  In the trombone section we always took it
so seriously.  And during my senior year I remember instructing
trombone players to “hit the top of your shoulder with the horn as you
bring it up”.  That meant you were doing it fast enough.  I guess it
was partly a macho thing with us bone players.  Teenagers don’t always
have the best ideas.  It makes me cringe now to think about treating a
horn this way!

Anyway, as a result of this rough treatment on my trombone, it had
become weak in a place where there’s a solder joint, and it eventually
started coming apart there.  So I had to take my made-in-Elkhart,
Indiana-Conn-88H (kind of a collector’s item among trombonists
actually!) into the shop.  There was an instrument repair shop in
Irving I always went to.  I believe it was at Rock Island and Story
Road in a small strip mall, and I think the name of the place was
Colverts.  The repair guy there, quite the character – wish I could
remember his name – was a bit cantankerous and gruff on the exterior,
but still like-able and humorous.  He had worked on my horn several
times throughout the years (I also have a vague memory of buying that
very Conn used there at Colverts with my parents when I was in 7th
grade).  I showed him the solder place coming loose.  It was in the
tubing close to where the slide section connects with the bell
section.  I told him how we bring the horns down & up fast during
marching, impact shoulders, etc, and how that caused the damage.  He
seemed actually kind of amused by all this as he looked over the
tubing, but said “oh, you guys have got to stop that”.

I was leaving my horn in good, capable hands.  Only problem was that I
had to let the repair guy keep it for a couple of days or more, and
that was something I didn’t plan for.  And he had to keep it through a
Friday as it happened, so that meant I was going to be trombone-less
for the coming football game.

I broke the news at morning band practice.  This was the trombone
section leader, mind you, who was not going to be able to contribute
sound to the show on the field and to playing in the stands on Friday
night’s game.  Some brass section members started talking about how I
should borrow the trombone of a freshman.  The idea was not even mine,
as I remember things, but it was discussed and it built up into a
larger and larger wave and it seemed there was no stopping it.  I was
to borrow someone else’s horn and that was that.  I guess I wasn’t
completely against the idea so I didn’t exactly make a tremendous
effort to try and stop it.

So Friday night there was one point in the half time show where the
“first officer” of the section and fellow senior trombonist, Grant
Wood, and I did a countermarch right on the 50 yard line, heading in
opposite directions.  Since that move was front and center and so
visible to people in the stands we wanted that to look especially good
and razor sharp.  It was a moment at center stage, so we got even more
overzealous with the swift horn movements.  I got to the 50, sharply
brought the horn down, countermarched, and then really wacked myself
on the shoulder as I wielded the horn back up as fast as I could.  The
trombone broke in half.  It was a truly weird experience because I
felt the slide section do a follow-through and continue to move after
the horn got to what was supposed to be its stopped, raised position.
After recovering from the big surprise I tried holding the two pieces
of trombone together in playing position, but it wasn’t possible to
balance the loose bell section and slide section together without
causing even more damage to the instrument.  The loose sections were
moving independently of each other as I marched and the rim of the
bell was hitting the slide, even though I was glide stepping.  So I
had to hold the horn together in the down position for the rest of the
show, and that kept it safe.  After the show was over band members
were asking me what was wrong and why I was not playing at the end.  I
told what had happened, showed the broken horn and everyone just
couldn’t believe it and were cracking up.  I felt bad about the horn,
but I knew I could get it repaired.  Then as everyone was making belly
ache laughter, we discovered the actual owner of the trombone was
crying.  I told her that it was completely repairable and that I would
cover for it too, but that seemed to offer no comfort.  She kept on
crying.  The trombone belonged to Susan Highfield.  Sorry for all
that, Susan.  Hope you’re not still pissed.

After the game I met with her parents to explain things.  I didn’t
know how they might react to me breaking their kid’s trombone in half.
I had some explaining to do on why I had been using that horn in the
first place.  I remember Susan’s dad just looking at me with a very
serious expression and not saying a word while I told the whole story.
I offered to take the horn in for repair and pay for it, and I told
them that my trombone was in the shop for the very same reason and had
come apart in the exact same place.  In the end Susan’s parents were
awfully nice about everything because they politely declined on the
offer and said they would take care of the repair charges.  That was
big of them.

 

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