What is better than 1 Baa? Tubas!
Autumn reminds me of my glory days in my high school marching band. Four years of lifting my knees in step to the music, keeping the line straight, and learning about the ways of the world in the back of the band bus.
Life in the public school music program began in the fifth grade when you chose your instrument, took lessons, and joined the other honkers in an ensemble that sounded like the boys’ band in The Music Man. When my girlfriend and I had signed up, all we’d known about music was that girls played the clarinet or the flute. I wanted to play the piccolo. I yearned for the Sousa spotlight, but the band director said I had to start on flute before piccolo. My friend and I both became flutists, and we stuck with band through grade school and middle school. Our reward came in high school.
In high school, the marching band played at football games, community parades, and band concerts in the summer. In the winter, we switched to concert band or the orchestra and provided the pit for the big school musical, and in the spring, we prepared for the all-city music festival. Friends and music were my salvation in adolescence.
Marching band was the highlight of my high school life. There was nothing like riding back from a football game in a crowded bus, kids piled into the backseats. We screamed old-fashioned fight songs and had tickle fights, fell in love, and savored the elixir of friendship and comradeship that joining a group provided. Oh, and there was also the thrill of marching on the turf of the stadium, lights and crowd all dazzling.
I haven’t played the flute since graduating from high school, but there are several notables that have stayed with me from my band days. I hadn’t known it was called persistence at the time, but I had been introduced to it in band. Airy puffs had become sounds, and clearer, dulcet tones had turned into scales and songs, and a bunch of kids like me had become a precise marching unit. As our director said,
I’d made great friends and learned in the years to come that marching band kids were going to be good people. In fact, when I’d first met my husband, I had been attracted to him because he had been a trumpet player in his high school band. From my band career, I’d also learned that life was richer when you joined a quality group that was dedicated to a purpose. I can still execute a turn and shout the opening band salute, “Kick down 2, 3, 4, UPPPP 2, 3, 4. All hail to the green and gold!”
I am glad that marching band continues to be a proud activity for most high schools. Our local school fields a band over 200 strong. Both my kids marched in it for four years. There are more competitions for marching bands now and the routines have grown more complex, but I bet my kids enjoyed their time in the back of the bus as much as they gloried in their time under the Friday night lights.
I am a writer, blogger, book reviewer, and bon vivant and encourager. I have lived my entire life in Tropical Ohio. My goal is to make friends with everyone in the world. I am writing a fiction series, The Golden Age of Charli, that presents the problems and praises, and the love and laughter of family life and retirement.
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