Brothers of a Band by B J Lambesis
Tooter’s Tour of Duty
Review by Molly
B.J. Lambesis’ Brother of a Band Tooter’s Tour of Duty begins when Theo learns to toot. To the despair of his mother Beatrice, Theodore Rawlings’ teeth were always prone to cavities. Try as she might Beatrice didn’t seem to have many options when it came to Theo’s teeth. Theo was in 4th grade when the school sent home a flier announcing formation of a school band. Theo thought the trumpet would be a good instrument to learn. Theo’s jock dad was not enthralled.
From that beginning the reader is carried along with Theo, permission slip in hand, money for fees and a dental appointment which kept him from the trumpet, trombones, baritones and French horns, saxes, flutes, snare drums and cymbals. There were a piccolo and some clarinets left for choosing. Choosing a clarinet was the start of his musical journey which would take him to first chair middle school band and high school band, high school orchestra, and his college marching band while he was earning a bachelor’s degree.
Finding himself facing much problem landing a job with a symphony, Tooter began hanging drywall with his dad, found a job with the local orchestra, gave private music lessons, until finally he joined the army to make music, but, found himself spending most of his time training or as a boots on the ground infantryman in Afghanistan. Two tours of duty, he finally returned to Phoenix where he spent several days with his dad, and his wife. He visited Beatrice’s grave, rented a loft in a converted office building in downtown Phoenix, received a teacher’s certificate, tendered his resume to every school district in the metropolitan area, began teaching at a nearby middle school where he discovered he actually enjoyed the classroom, and during a music conference ran into an old high school band classmate.
Writer Lambesis notes that this book is a work of fiction, every part is a product of the author’s imagination. She also want readers to know new military recruits go through several phases of training prior to assignment to military occupational units. Lambesis also notes; The one character who is non fictional is Mullah Mohammad Omar, founder of the Taliban.
Brother of a Band Tooter’s Tour of Duty is an appealing, quick read exploring the way in which diverse stages of our lives interconnect in multifaceted manner to widen into totally unanticipated results.
What a compelling read, packed with more than a little wit, satirical descriptions of life, memory piquing insight into the life of little musicians, peeks into what it’s like for those serving in the military, and day to day living in general from childhood to the years of old age.
I remembered my own boys’ beginning musical training, one, as was Tooter, is a clarinetist, who plays a variety of instruments woodwind and percussion; so the tale rang a special note for me. Tales of the high school are depicted with the wit of one who has perhaps been a part of a high school band.
Theodore –Tooter- Rawlings and his life have come alive on the pages of Writer Lambesis’ first published book, Brother of a Band Tooter’s Tour of Duty. Hopefully she has more to follow.
NOTE: all author proceeds from sales of Brother of a Band Tooter’s Tour of Duty will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and public school music programs