Emily has played a flute for several of her fourteen years. I remember visiting when she had been playing only a few months and I recognized the song she played—The Great Rock Candy Mountain.
A year ago she and Laura moved here, with instruments. Emily was assimilated at once into the high school marching band, swept up even before school began. When she came back from band camp a year ago she said her flute broke almost at once, but someone loaned her a flute.
So began our regular treks to music stores, for this repair or that. We went to the music store recommended by the high school band to have some spring replaced or key unbent, and picked up the flute on the way to an event. “Try that out,” Aunt Janice suggested, pulling away from the curb. It wasn’t even repaired!
We found a music store several towns south of us. The staff could always repair whatever went wrong with the flute. The last time we were there, before a concert before the end of the last school year, I asked into the price of a replacement student flute. I flipped my calendar three months ahead and wrote “Buy Flute.”
My daughter purchased Emily’s old flute on EBay. It was a well used student Armstrong flute when Emily got it. She named it Luna, for Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon. Emily practiced often; the band has an extensive repertoire; the kids are expected to be proficient, from memory. Frankly, I never thought Emily much of a flutist, but I admired her spunk.
She and Laura and I went to the flute store last week, and laid Luna on the counter. We could hear a student’s lesson from a room down the hall; we had the showroom to ourselves. The man behind the counter brought out three used instruments, told Emily to run the scale then play one of her marching songs. She repeated on another flute, then played a note I’d never heard. “Low C,” the man said. Emily grinned.
The two of them eliminated one flute, then another. The man brought out another flute for Emily to try. I waited in another corner of the store. The last flute sounded so rich and mellow I went back to watch her play. Emily was beaming. She can really play. She even riffed a couple notes. It was the one, a Gemeihardt.
As he was writing up the deal, the man reached into the case and brought out a two thousand dollar Gemeihardt. “Try this while I ring you up.” The sound was beautiful, and this from a grandma who is tone deaf.
The musician behind the counter took back the flute and played it for us. He played it like a jazz instrument; the notes talked to each other. He told Emily its pads made the difference. Then Emily took Ginny, and a new bottle of valve oil, and we left.