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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Band camp decompression



The bus returns at 5:30 and the band will put on a performance.  Said the handout to the band parents.

I left early and pulled into the school drive at 5:05, to find an ominously empty parking lot.  Then my pocket jingled and Emily texted:  We’re on the field at the middle school.

“What middle school?” I yelled at the universe, and called my sister at home.  She located it on the internet, and gave me the street names to navigate.  The first drive I encountered on the street she sent me to said Exit Only.  Way up the drive, past a jam packed parking lot, through a fence and across the running track I could see the band performing.  Beyond the band, the bleachers, the parents.


I passed the Exit Only.  The next drive would say Entrance.  There was no next drive, there was a dead end street packed on both sides with parental cars dropping of little football players.  I worked my way out, backwards, again skipping the Exit Only.  I found the entrance around another block, and surveyed the remaining two football field distances to the bleachers.  That was never going to happen.


But, I went to the fence, squoze through a gap, leaned over another wall and admired the band.  Mighty fancy footwork going on out on that field.  I knew this was one of the best high school bands in the county, but had no comprehension of the abilities of a good high school marching band.


Emily is standing on the “o”.  That’s her pony tail going right by a tuba.

I also saw a way I could snake my little car cross country, right up to the Penske truck where the luggage and tuba cases were being unloaded.  Twenty years experience driving a van to the prime load in/load out spot did not go to waste, and I slipped unobtrusively in at the head of the line as the band streamed off the field.  Just like a real parent.


Bringing a flute player home from band camp is not different than bringing a child home from camp.  I heard all about two mile marches through the town four times a day to the field.  They didn’t play in the morning or at night, it was too late to disturb the townspeople. They played and marched home for lunch and back after lunch. They learned a new dance every morning.  There was a drum off with another high school band having a band camp that week, too.

Emily’s favorite routines so far are the Macarena, the Seven Nations Army, the boxer moves, the splits.  The words just tumbled out.  She had a wonderful time, knows the names of all the girls in her section and most of the girls in woodwinds. 

“Oh, and guess what gramma!”  She texted her brother all week.  He’s going into eleventh grade and plays in the band at the old school.  She told him about all the dance routines they were learning.  “He’s jealous.  They just march!”

We were home by seven, Emily ate dinner, took a shower.  I looked in on her at eight and she was sound asleep.

16 comments:

  1. It sounds hard enough to play an instrument while marching, never mind adding dancing to the mix!

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  2. Thank you so much for bringing this little slice of heaven my way.
    And I admire your parking as well.

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  3. Ah, the enthusiasm of youth! Well done on getting there - it's just such an awful feeling turning up to an event and finding nobody else there ! :D

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  4. And a wonderful time was had by all.

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  5. So much fun coming your way, Joanne!
    Jane x

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  6. How wonderful that she had the opportunity to go! Good job that you could be there for her.

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  7. Before she became music tech director of her high school, Bing was the band director for 8 years. She loved/hated it, said it was the hardest job she ever had. But...WOW. The end result was incredible. And truthfully? She DETESTED going to band camp, dreaded it like the plague. She always said that the kids were too soft, constantly complaining about how it was too hot. But...when band ended for the year, Bing was in love with those kids. Every last one.

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  8. The enthusiasm of these youngsters rolls off the fields in waves. This kind of band activity was such a change for Emily, from the straight marching of the the old band. She sprained her ankle and broke her flute, but kept on marching and playing a loaner someone gave her. That black sock is actually an ankle brace. I sat and smiled at they way they all hugged each other goodbye. Great lumps of hugging all over the field.

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  9. Music is terribly enriching and she will have great coordination too with all that marching AND dancing. Makes me tired thinking about it. I would say you are doing a great deal of "real parenting."

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  10. Hooray for you and your experience driving the support van. All that energy should help charge your batteries too.

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  11. Yes, 20 years of searching and finding the best load-in/load out space paid off..Terrific Grandma-Emily is blessed. sports are gone as soon as our bodies give up, music is forever..Thanks for that gift to Emily..

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  12. Yes music is the best, I still remember my mother playing music after we went to bed, I think that's where I learned to appreciate it so.

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  13. I quite like the sound of marching bands. We had marching girls in my childhood town, but the bands were adult groups, like the Police band, the Salvation Army etc. I almost joined the marching girls, I tried out at one of their practice sessions and the trainer said I was very good. Then my dad heard how much the uniform would cost and that was the end of that.

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  14. And I bet you were asleep shortly after! I think I need a nap...

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  15. Ah. The sleep of the recently returned band-camp innocent!
    Kudos to you, Joanne! You managed the parent/grandparent hurdles in fine style! Loved hearing about your granddaughter's wonderful camp.

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