One section that was cut from a draft of my mellophone book was a section on the mellophone toss. While I don’t recommend it, I understand that actually there have been mellophone toss sessions held at horn events. In reference to that I tried to write up a bit of humor for the book. Humor is not easy to write and in the end I thought the space better used for actual information rather than entertainment. What I wrote was a parody of the flag retirement ceremony used to properly retire a flag that is torn and old; often these are held right around Flag Day by groups such veterans organizations and scout troops. With Flag Day tomorrow it seems like a good day to finally post this item in the spirit of entertainment but, again, I don’t really recommend tossing around mellophones, especially if they don’t belong to you.
Much as for example a tattered flag should be disposed of in a dignified manner, so also should a battered mellophone. To quote the Intergalactic Mellophone Code, “The mellophone, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for musical competition, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by tossing.”
Thus, the proper method of disposal of a mellophone is the “mellophone toss.” According to regulations approved by the Intergalactic Mellophone Society (IMS) band uniforms should be worn by those officiating at the occasion. While amendments to IMS regulations allow for slight regional variations, the standard ceremony is as follows.
“We are gathered here to destroy this mellophone that has been deemed no longer serviceable. It is proclaimed that this mellophone has served well.
This mellophone has inspired those who desired the taste of the middle register. This mellophone has welcomed any and all in the name of music.
Know ye that this mellophone has served well and honorably. Its valves have been loosed to the winds and have basked in the light of musical competition.”
CALL ATTENTION/ALL RISE (Those that Can)
“Please join me in a moment of silence.” (PAUSE) “You may be seated.”
STAND AT EASE
Read, “The Intergalactic Mellophone Code states,” (PAUSE) “The mellophone, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for musical competition, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by tossing.”
(OPTIONAL) Dedicate this ceremony to an individual who loved the mellophone. (Read previously obtained information about the honoree).
CALL ATTENTION/ALL RISE
Staff member tosses mellophone. The worn out mellophone may either be tossed down a football field or may be tossed into a large body of water for burial at sea.
Sing or recite the first stanza of “God Bless the Mellophone.”
STAND AT EASE
STAFF MEMBER OR CEREMONY LEADER “Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the ceremony. God bless the mellophone.”
While some prefer to carefully preserve retired mellophones for future study (or for recycle into modern art or lamps), there are strong advocates of the above described traditional, somber, and dignified mellophone toss in the mellophone community.
As with playing the mellophone, technique is everything. The mellophone toss is not a competition; the mellophone should be tossed with grace, elegance, and respect. The staff member who actually tosses the mellophone should be certified by the IMS in mellophone tossing or, as an emergency substitute if no certified mellophone tosser is available, have received training in throwing the discus. Contact your local IMS chapter for assistance in locating an individual certified to toss mellophones.
Also please note that the IMS only sanctions the tossing of mellophones that are approved to be tossed by their rightful owners. DO NOT “borrow” one for tossing from a school or other ensemble without clear permission to do so.
So there it is. I am not giving up my day job to become a comedy writer. As to the Intergalactic Mellophone Society, it does not yet exist but perhaps with this publication of the mello code there will be a need for a sanctioning body for the mellophone, who knows? For now though the authority on all things Mello is certainly The Mellocast.