So, while I’m sweating away at band camp (and sweating away I am…it. is. hot.) a few friends of mine have written some posts to keep you somewhat entertained in my absence. They are awesome friends.
Up first is Katie of Sluiter Nation. Katie is my e-twin. There are so many similarities between us it’s a bit ridiculous.
If I had to title her post, I’d call it “Memories” because that’s really what it’s about, and that, for me at least, is what high school band is about. It’s about making memories and friends and having stories to tell when you get together for your reunions. “Remember that time….” and then everyone laughs and enjoys reliving the moment.
So, give Katie a warm welcome, y’all.
I wasn’t going to do anymore guest posting for awhile. That is what I told myself. I needed a break. I needed to concentrate on my OWN blog. But then I saw Miranda’s post talking about band camp. Ok seriously? There is no way I could pass this up! Band was such a huge part of my high school life! I have so many wonderful memories! So…here are just a few.
My first memory of band sucks. I was in fifth grade and they were deciding what everyone would play the next year once we got to middle school. I desperately wanted to play the drums. The drums? They were cool. And there weren’t many girls who were part of the percussion section so there wouldn’t be ridiculous fights AND I would get to be “that girl” who played the drums. You know I totally saw this as a chance to be the center of some sort of attention.
But alas, the drums were not meant to be. When I told the director that I was interested in the drums, he shook his head, “no, we already have a girl playing drums. What else do you like?”
Crushed, but not yet as confrontational about injustices as I would become later in life, I mumbled something about a trumpet. So, I became a trumpet player.
Mr. Walker—or just “Walker” as we would come to call him–our high school band director, was not so subtle about his shock at how awful we all were. We had a few years of rotten band directors at the middle and high school levels and we were so not where we should be for a high school band. None of us had even heard of a “show” before. Don’t bands just march down the street?
The next four years are a blur of awesome. My sophomore year was a band trip year. We went to Toronto, Canada and saw Phantom of the Opera. It was by far the most culture I got as a high schooler. We did lots of other stuff on that trip: Casa Loma, the mall, some sort of museum, Niagara Falls, a Medieval Times dinner theater, a bus ride where a muffler almost landed in Walker’s lap. Oh, the fun never stopped!
Sophomore year was also the year I started Color Guard. From then on, when asked what I played in band, I always responded, “I play a flag.” I thought I was hilariously witty. Because that is the kind of wit you have when you are in band.
I don’t know if my high school does REAL band camp now, but when I was there band camp was a week in August of “day” band camp at our school. Because of this, we had to be on time. If the Color Guard was NOT on time? Our coach made us run laps around the practice field in front of the rest of the band. Um, excuse me, but I joined band so I wouldn’t have to run…or do any sort of athletic event…ever. No one cared.
Oh, and I have a punctuality problem. So I was running laps every damn morning. It sucked because for some reason, we could have the mildest summer, and then BAM! Band camp week would come and it would be hot AND humid at 7:30am. And my booty would be running laps for every minute I was late. You would think I would learn. I never did in three years of Color Guard.
What I also remember vividly about band camp was that the field we used as our practice field was directly across the street from Mead Johnson—the company who makes baby formula. Soy? Smells like death when it is being transformed into formula. So it would be hot, humid, and stinky.
Band camp is a bit of a blur for me. My last summer of band camp was 15 years ago, but there are things I will always remember
Like a particular drummer whose last name happened to be a name for a male body part…or another name for hotdog. He was a bass drum player who would set his drum down at the end of each formation. This made Walker mad since we were supposed to stay at attention while listening to our critique. One breezy day, Walker lost it.
He was standing high above us all on a wooden “lookout” type stand. The wind was blowing what hair he had around his ears and his eyes glowered down on us through his glasses. He sort of looked like an owl. A really pissed off, ready to bite your face owl.
And then he yelled through his bullhorn:
Damnit, Weiner! I told you to GET IT UP!
Oh my how we all tried not to laugh. We knew he was dead. serious. If we laughed somehow he would shoot lasers at us and we would all meet a stinky demise on that muggy field. By this point he was breathing hard out of his nose—much like a dragon about to unleash a fiery hell all over the place.
I remember closing my eyes and not looking at anyone. I was notorious for “losing it first.” And I would be in so. much. trouble. If I did that.
The moment passed. The bass player picked up his drum. We continued to count out our steps.
And the years passed.
Suddenly I was a senior at our last concert (playing my trumpet, of course, since flags are sort of ridiculous during concerts). Walker was finishing the handing out of the four-year band awards (of which I was a part…woot!). We then presented HIM with a four-year band award. After all, our first year was his first year.
Band was about my fellow flag “players” and my buddies and our director. It was about laughing and learning and getting involved. It was about making fun memories. And we definitely accomplished that!