Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

by Chief Musician Melissa Bishop

Chief Musician Melissa Bishop meets with her college roommate,
Katie Loesch, and her two children.
One of the best parts of being on the road for an extended period of time is when tour takes us close to family. My mom and stepfather moved to Wilmette, Ill., (north of Chicago) about a year ago, so I am thrilled that this year’s tour takes us to Evanston, Naperville, and Wilmot, Wis., and that our hotel for this stretch of the tour is only a 10-minute drive from their house. I am also delighted that we arrive in Evanston today on my mom’s birthday. She can pretend we are playing the concert tonight in her honor (of course, I will be!). So, Happy [*50th*] Birthday, Mom! I am guessing it’s been at least 16 or 17 years since I have been able to help her celebrate her birthday in person.

A challenging part of life on the road is trying to stay fit and healthy. I am amazed at the creativity of my colleagues as they try to eat nutritiously on our strange tour schedule, which often involves traveling during the time most of us would normally be eating lunch or dinner. People bring things like powdered peanut butter, meal replacement drinks, and (my favorite) seaweed strips. Hey, it’s a green vegetable! One band member leads crossfit classes several times a week, our runners brave the streets of each new town, sometimes local gyms give us a discounted rate, and a few of our recent hotels have even had lap pools. At least one person brought a bike with them, disassembled with all but the wheels packed away into a suitcase under the bus. Life goes on, and people make the best of being on the road.

Our audiences so far on this tour have been tremendous. It is really wonderful to look out into a concert hall and see a packed house. I enjoy meeting people in the lobby before or after the concerts during what we call "Meet and Greet." This is an opportunity for us to speak with our audience members directly, to shake their hands and thank them for coming out to our concert. It is also a chance to hear their stories about people in their own families who have served in the military. I was truly humbled a few nights ago when a woman showed me a photo of her son, a lieutenant commander who was killed four years ago during his fourth tour in the Middle East. She thanked us so much for playing in her town, for honoring her son and others who serve or have served our country. Speechless for a moment, all I could think of was to thank her for her sacrifice. This is why we are out here, to thank service members and their families, to inspire others, and to represent the Navy.

If you live in the Midwest and would like to hear the Band, check out this cool interactive map that shows where we are playing. And make sure you stop to say “Hello” to the band members in the lobby!

About the Author

Chief Musician Melissa Bishop plays clarinet in the Concert Band. A native of Atlanta, Ga., Bishop joined the Navy Band in 1998. She attended Indiana University, earning a Bachelor of Music in 1992 and a Master of Music in 1994, both in clarinet performance.

1 comment:

Amy Siegel said...

Very cool, Melisa