The Woodsman – Bob Lauver

This week in rehearsals is the first week of organized recovery from
the loss of our friend Martin.  "Our" in this instance refers to the
horn section, but most people are very much in the middle of their
grief.  This Monday we will be having a memorial service at Heinz Hall.

This week we have our assistant principal horn Zach Smith playing
lead on Don Juan.  In conversations with people about him, I frequently
refer to him as the horn section’s secret weapon.  He’s got more
"gung-ho" in his little finger than most people have in their whole
body.  He applies this quality to everything he does, from playing any
part in the section to playing the short call in Wagner’s Siegfried
(from a hiding place within earshot of the Mt. Lebanon High School
Marching Band’s practice field).  You might even experience this
quality in a conversation with him (just ask the parking attendants at
Atria’s).  He’s doing an amazing job, it’s fun to hear him go after
it.  A real highlight is a beautiful solo/duet that he and Tommy
Thompson (co-principal clarinet) play together.  There’s also an oboe
solo beautifully played by Cynthia DeAlmeida which seemingly wakens the
passion of Don Juan himself (in the form of the ever ready horn
section).  Many great moments, and that’s just the first piece!

Ron Schneider gave me a call to brainstorm a memorial symbol that
the horn section could adopt for the rest of our season.  We have seen
groups honor a departed colleague by wearing an armband or ribbon in
his or her honor, but somehow this didn’t quite seem like the right fit
for Martin.  Ron told me to think about it, I said I would then we hung
up.  When I mentioned this to my wife Marina she immediately said,
"What about an Axe?".  It made perfect sense.  I’ll explain…..through
the years Martin would make reference to an earlier point in his life
by providing his title of the moment.  He might say, "When I was a
philosopher….." or "When I was a semi-professional painter……",
but when he said, "When I was a woodsman….." it stuck.  We got lots
of mileage out of that one, although I think "When I was a CIA
operative…." had great potential.  So, I Googled –Axe lapel pin–
and found some very tasteful pins that we are very proud to be wearing
on the lapels of our tails to honor Martin’s memory.  We debuted them
tonight, and it feels right…..we really miss the guy.

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