Jacob's Haunted Horn


Eighteen years, and National Homeschool Music Ensembles has a concert band, choir, string ensemble, percussion ensemble, beginning band, and beginning strings. Who would have predicted this in the summer of 1999, as we sat in Mrs. Warner’s Blissfield, Michigan kitchen and talked about forming a music program for homeschoolers in Lenawee County?

We would start with sixteen families, about 24 students, and a French horn that was haunted. Jacob, our French horn student, played all the proper fingerings, but the horn gave out notes that were off by a minor third. Even the horn professor at Eastern Michigan University could not explain this anomaly.


The haunted horn! At Christmas break Jacob asked if he could borrow my cleaning snake to bathe his French horn, and off he went happy to know his horn would be clean. Little did we expect what happened, apart came the horn, in with the Dawn dishwashing liquid, and into each orifice he inserted the snake. Upon reaching the bell something rattled, and out came a dated 16 year old ballpoint pen.

I am here to tell you that a ball point pen stuck in the bell of a French horn will cause it to play down a minor third. So much for rational thought as a band director!
©2018 by Donald S Dobrosky Sr.

Postscript: please refrain from putting stringed instruments, woodwinds of any sort, and even percussion pieces into the bath - it does not turn out well!

PPS: Regular baths of the brasswinds keep them smelling nice!

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