Damn it. So I quit the Concert Band I'd joined only a month or so ago.
I didn't want to do this, because I remember so clearly quitting the Praise Band I was in, and my reasons why. Wow, that was a year ago already. Sure, people here supported me, and I do think I was justified, and it's not like anyone was hurt by it. No one got screwed over, no one was left without a keyboard player or anything. But ultimately my motives were selfish, and that's always bothered me a little bit. And this time was different, but there were some odd similarities.
Community College. The top-level band is the Wind Ensemble; you have to audition for that. I was in the Concert Band; if you want to play, you're in. You can take it for credit (music majors), or non-credit (just for fun). This can lead to problems, but this band had a pretty good balance. 8 or 10 flutes, 8 or 10 clarinets, similar number of trumpets, six trombones, three baritone horns, two tuba, four French horns, three bassoons, two oboes, three alto sax, one tenor, one baritone. You almost couldn't ask for a better balance of parts.
Except that this guy doesn't like saxophones. Only three altos, and every time we played, and I mean every time, he'd look at us and motion for us to be quieter, or actually say out loud "Altos, quieter!" Over a dozen trumpets and trombones blasting away right behind us, and he can hear us, and he doesn't want to. "Everything needs to blend together. I shouldn't be able to hear individual parts!" Okay, that's true.
It's marked Fortissimo and we're down to literally blowing as quietly as we can. Any less air, and the reed won't even vibrate. "Altos, please! Blend!" In other words, if he can hear us at all (including "blended" with the brass) we're too loud.
I ask the girl to my right (Tammy, the 1st) if I'm imagining things, and she says No. Saxes always need to play at least one marking quieter than written, or he yells. At least, she emphasizes. The tenor is my co-worker and the guy who got me into this, and he agrees too. If he can hear saxophones, we're too loud. Tammy has been there four years. The guy to my left, the other 2nd, is actually taking it for credit. But someone needs to simply not play, so I guess it's me. Double-f and we're playing double-p and it's still too loud. So I don't play at all. Lip-synch, finger-synch. "Okay, that sounds better." I wasn't playing, and I couldn't hear the other saxes, either. The trumpets buried us. I guess that's what he wants.
The entire first rehearsal went like this. Second rehearsal, we got a break. Third and fourth rehearsals, he simply didn't want to hear us at all. The only time he didn't bitch about the saxes being too loud was when I wasn't playing. Due to a clerical error, there's one piece where I have the 2nd alto part and the others both have 1st. There was a spot where we go into harmony (duh) and he looked right at me, and motioned for quiet. "I shouldn't be able to hear individual parts. Blend!" I'm the only one playing that note; you're gonna hear it, you fucking moron. And yes, I'm playing as quietly as I can and still pushing air through the horn. So I stopped playing entirely. "Ah, perfect!" Now it's all unison and the trumpets can bury the saxes and it's apparently exactly what he wants.
I turned in my music. Fuck this. I don't have to be there, but if I'm there, I want to play. He has too many alto saxophones, now he doesn't, problem solved.