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Doug Clark: Ringing bells keeps me away from red field

Thu., Dec. 13, 2012

My hope of experiencing a déjà toot with the Eastern Washington University band must be a dream deferred.

The good news is that I didn’t waste any time trying to resurrect my deceased trumpet lip.

But due to scheduling demands far beyond my control, I won’t be joining the EWU band this Saturday as the mighty Eagles take on a football team from Sam Houston State in the FCS semifinal on scarlet Roos Field.

Not that I’m complaining.

On Saturday I’ll be having loads of excitement with another goodhearted team that includes Randy Shaw, Amy Biviano, Sammy Eubanks and others.

The Fred Meyer store on Thor Street in Spokane is the place. The fun begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m.

We will be taking part in the Salvation Army’s annual red kettle Ring Off between the Spokane mayor and Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, who will be doing her thing at the Lake City’s Fred Meyer.

Last week I accepted the Army’s offer to serve as Spokane’s mayor pro tem after David Condon (Spokane’s mayor one term?) wimped out on this annual friendly competition to see who can raise the most money for the needy.

No conflict was in the cards at that time. Eastern’s semifinal, I was told, would be played on Friday, Dec. 14.

With that in mind, I channeled the ghost of Knute Rockne and urged the Eagle team to pound Illinois State like a veal cutlet.

I had a special interest in the quarterfinal’s outcome, of course.

I wanted to reprise that championship season of 2010, when alumni musicians like me were invited to fill the empty spots in the band that were caused by vacationing students.

Sure enough, the Eags (Is that one of the worst-sounding nicknames of all time, or what?) responded to my inspirational sermon and clobbered Illinois State 51-35.

Thank you very much, coach.

For a moment it looked like all the planets were aligned.

Then due to the fickle demands of TV (that’s what I was told, anyway), the FCS semifinal against Sam Houston State was rescheduled for this Saturday.

My hope now is for another Eastern triumph.

One more win puts my alma mater in another national championship at Frisco, Texas.

And who knows? Just maybe there’ll be room in the cargo hold for a certain cornet-playing columnist.

No matter what happens, however, the Saturday Ring Off is sure to be a hoot.

My buddy and bandmate, Joe Brasch, and I will kick things off at 10 a.m. with some Christmas songs.

Anyone donating $50 or more will receive a free autographed copy of “Singin’ the News.” This is our new CD that includes all 14 of the parody songs that Brasch and I have recorded over the years for the betterment of this newspaper.

Rated “T” for twisted, Singin’ the News features the Eddie Ray Hall trilogy as well as our soulful tributes to Larry Craig and late Mayor Jim West.

But wait, there’s more.

As a bonus you’ll also receive “The Ballad of Porthole Potty,” a never-before released song sung to the tune of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

This ditty tells the strange-but-true tale of a $22,000 public toilet that somehow slipped its moorings one day and sailed away into the choppy waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

So come down and catch all the music and fun. I might even play a number or two on my vintage cornet. That way you’ll know what the crowd at Roos Field is missing.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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