Happy Movember! It is quite a bit of fun to be one of the VS Mo Bros. This is the first time that I have taken part in Movember and it has also been many years since I have grown any significant amount of facial hair. I was very reassured that, after only a few days of not shaving, people started to notice that something was different. Some even noticed that I was growing a moustache and immediately concluded that I was ‘Movembering.’ Funnily enough, the first person to notice was NOT my wife. She did however notice early into the month that there was hair on my upper lip and was not overjoyed to learn that she was going to have to put up with a moustache on my face in support of men’s health issues. It does seem a light-hearted way to bring attention to a serious issue.
I was particularly moved to take part this year by the recent passing of my friend and predecessor in the Victoria Symphony, Eugene Dowling, who died this past June from prostate cancer. He was a fabulous tuba player, an incredibly talented musician, a dedicated teacher, and a wonderful human being whom I miss greatly. I have declined to participate in Movember in the past but this year I did not feel I could refuse, even though we were going to be playing the monumental Fifth Symphony by Mahler in the middle of the month. I knew from past experience that I could pull it off if I was careful to shave a ‘divot’ out of the middle of my moustache to accommodate my tuba mouthpiece. I called it my Mahler divot and was careful to make sure that the moustache did not interfere with contact between my lips and the instrument. Now that we have successfully performed the concerts I can relax a little on the grooming aspect and just enjoy thoughtfully tugging on my moustache until the end of the month when I have promised my wife that I will return to my previous moustache-free state.