Long live the band geek

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Sep 01, 2007


Can you spot the veterinarian? Here's a hint: She plays the trumpet. Don't know a trumpet from a tuba? She's the blonde in the black dress.
About a year ago, I saw an ad in the local community-college newspaper asking folks to join the community band. I played trumpet all through junior high and high school—we're talking pep band, jazz band ... I was a band geek extraordinaire. I was interested in participating, but I was worried that I'd lost my touch. I had played my horn only a couple of times a year at the most since high school—and that was a bit over a decade ago.

After several weeks of practicing, I swallowed hard and went to the first rehearsal. The group was almost all high school and college students. I felt out of place at first. I kept my mouth shut and wore jeans and a T-shirt (my camouflage), and I didn't tell anyone what I did outside of band unless they asked. It was nice to be thought of as a musician—even a mediocre one—and not a veterinarian. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but sometimes it's nice to wear a different hat.

I've participated in community band for four semesters now and plan to start my fifth semester this fall. Some of the other band members now know I'm a veterinarian, and they ask me questions about their pets sometimes, but I don't mind. And I'm honored to have our band director as a client.

I'll likely stay in the band for a while. I've thought occasionally about quitting, mostly when we're busy at work and I'm too tired to go to rehearsal. But I need the creative outlet and it fits into my schedule nicely. With only one two-hour session a week, I hardly ever miss it. Besides, because of the performances, I get to wear formal attire twice a year—which is two times more than I used to.

—Nicole Martin, DVM
Southern Veterinary Hospital; Whiteville, N.C.