tubachristmas, dr dale peterson, Bartlesville, bucket list, growth opportunities

Ever Expanding Horizons

Ever Expanding Horizons

In 2007 a term that has become part of the culture of the United States was introduced – the “Bucket List.” In the movie by that name two men who are nearing the end of their lives set out to experience new things while they are still capable of doing so. Since the movie appeared many people have compiled their own bucket lists.

I haven’t prepared a formal bucket list, but I do look forward to experiencing new things. I believe that continuing to expand one’s horizons is one of the factors that will allow us to die young . . . as late in life as possible. So it was that I welcomed the opportunity to participate in my first TUBACHRISTMAS.

The TUBACHRISTMAS tradition began on December 22, 1974 when a group of tuba players assembled for a concert on New York’s Rockefeller Plaza ice rink. TUBACHRISTMAS concerts have been held annually ever since. The event has spread far beyond New York City and was held in 248 cities in 2010.

Tuba players love to participate in the event because it allows them a rare opportunity to demonstrate that their instruments have the ability to play melody and create pleasing harmony as well as provide the base line for a band or orchestra. The ensembles are dominated by tubas, but baritones and euphoniums are allowed to participate as well.

I am not a tuba player. My primary instrument is the trumpet. One of my sons-in-law, however, is a professional tubaist. He also happens to be the head of instrumental music at Bartlesville High School. It was he who invited me to join in the fun and arranged for me to borrow one of the schools baritones for the event.

It was at the pre-concert rehearsal that I held a baritone for the first time in my life. Transitioning from trumpet to baritone is not as great a feat as one might suppose, as the two instruments share the same fingerings. By the time I was half-way through the rehearsal I was becoming comfortable with the pitches and intervals of the instrument and no longer playing a B flat when I should have been playing an F. As a result I was able to contribute to the success of the performance rather than making a fool out of myself by playing an excessive number of wrong notes.

Not only was I able to add performing in a TUBACHRISTMAS concert to my list of life experiences, I was recognized as the oldest performer in the group. How ironic, I thought, that I, the most inexperienced player in the ensemble, was also its elder statesman!

There’s an old adage that says if you want to feel young hang out with an older crowd. I learned last Sunday that it is also possible to feel young by hanging out with a younger crowd. During the performance I sat next to a thirteen year old who received the award for being the youngest member of the group. He was nearly as much of a novice on his instrument as I was on mine, but I could tell that he was having the time of his young life. Being surrounded by the enthusiasm of youth was a wonderful and rejuvenating experience, something that I highly recommend.

Continuing to expand one’s horizons is another piece to the wellness puzzle. I encourage you to accept new challenges when opportunities present themselves. It is an essential to growth. As we go through life we are either in the process of growing or we are in the process of dying. I prefer growing and I hope that you take advantage of growth opportunities as they come your way. It is another way to optimize your health and maximize your life.