I’m Riding Solo


Cara Wimberley plays the Tuba in the Ranger Regiment.

Cara Wimberley, Editor

My heart dropped into my stomach and I took a deep, (barely) steadying breath. It was time to play the song that had shoved a lump in my throat for most of the day.

I’m not a wimp, but when I’m panicking, especially when it comes to drawing attention to myself, I flight.There’s not even a question about fighting, I’m gone. I run straight out of whatever situation I’m in and count on someone else to take care of business.

But in this situation, I was the someone else.

There was no running, there was no hiding. I was stuck, the baseline of the band, playing a solo. A solo that I had learned only that morning, mind you.

I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t let the band down the one time that they were looking for me to succeed. Most important, I couldn’t let myself down. I had to get over my fear of performing a solo–a fear I’ve battled with since sixth grade.

Also, this anxiety I constantly battled with for the last three years–I didn’t want to let it take over my life, keep me from doing something I was perfectly capable of doing.

So, I pulled out my music. I opened the piece and started reading through my music, pushing down the keys that corresponded to the notes, getting ready to start practicing. The band directors’ hands were poised and ready to begin conducting.

Now, not only was my heart doing somersaults, it was beating faster than I could keep up with.

I took a breath, and jumped to playing. I gasped for air on the rests and played with a great tone, regardless of the fact that my brain was moving at a hundred miles an hour. My solo was coming up.

Five measures of rest and then I’ll play.

Four measures, then I’m going to crush it.

Three measures.


I busted out my solo, playing all the right notes at the correct times, and sounding like an absolute tuba rockstar. The song ended and the band director looked over at me, all smiles. She had everyone clap, and that feeling made all of the sweaty, scary anxiety that I felt melt away.