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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Marching band is not for sissies


Friends and I have compared aches these last several days and mentioned the old saw, “Getting old is not for sissies.” But driving my two band charges to school in time for inspection tonight I realized these young performers are the real brave souls.

It’s been a long time since band camp, way back at the end of July. Since then I've faithfully transported Emily and Joe, twice a week; band practice on Wednesday, the game on Friday, sometimes a band show on Saturday. Joe’s Mom or Dad has as faithfully brought them back.

Last year Joe worried he wasn't up to scratch, but this year he knows he is. He’s moved from critiquing himself to critiquing every band they have or may play against. He’s an OCD youngster with a photographic memory. I can hear the pages in his mind turn as he ranks bands by size, by sound, by director, by style, by uniform, by music.

He’s also a history buff, and in the beginning of the season we had lovely discussions of the merits of various American presidents. But for the last couple of months, all we've heard from the back seat is the merit of the various school bands, on any feature, and in any order he’s using that night.  One night I only had Joe; Emily was already at school. “May I sit in front?” he inquired. “Absolutely!” “Ah, this is much better; we can talk more easily.” I love Joe.

When we discussed history or civics, conversation was two and even three way, when Emily joined in. Now we are obsessing on bands I don’t give a flying blue and white cape with silver braid, and Joe holds the floor, with an occasional remark from Emily.

Joe is still somewhat in awe of the band leader, how well the Code Red will go that night, if their section will be yelled at, how unfair the direction can be. We spent a long time on the rigidness of “march every step, play every note,” and then it went away as a topic. I asked if he was no longer concerned about his ability to do that and Joe replied actually, he realized Bev would know if he marched every step, but not if he played every note, so he has settled on the former as the best course of action.

The squad leaders go to the concession stands during the games and return with snacks for the band members. Joe is a donut fan; he knows what is available at every stadium and their rank in his appreciation. Tonight is a home field playoff and he loves the concession donuts. “And these are the big ones!” he moaned from the back seat. “Donuts?” I asked. “No! The big games. The concessions will be too crowded!” I couldn't explain why his lack of reference was causing me to laugh so hard, but he wasn't fussed.

As we pulled out of his street a light mist began accumulating on the windshield. The closer the stadium, the harder it rained. “Did you know about this?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” from Emily. “It will rain until seven, then turn to snow,” from Joe.

Marching band is not for sissies.


23 comments:

  1. Now I'm curious. Did the rain turn to snow at seven? And did Joe get a big donut?

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    1. Me too, me too. River asked exactly what I wanted to know. We don't have an emphasis on bands here (I don't think) so it is an alien culture to me. And I sure the work is immense.

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    2. It never turned to snow, but it did rain all night. Joe probably had more than one donut. The team won, by a lot to nothing, so we will be doing the again next Saturday.

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  2. Must admit, I'd love to see this band in action.

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  3. I'd look forward to a car trip with Joe!
    Jane x

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  4. Yes those youngsters no doubt march to the tune of "the show must go on". I admire their pluck!

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  5. I wish they would have marching bands perform during Super Bowl halftime instead of some fame whore singer.

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  6. Joe sounds like great fun, and a lot like my youngest stepson!

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  7. Joe will definitely go far in life. Bandies rule!

    I went to my grandson's band calvacade last weekend and was so impressed how well all the kids did. There was plenty of practice and effort that went into putting on a show like that. I was one proud grandmom as I am sure you are.

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  8. Got to give them credit to perform in any type of weather!

    betty

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  9. Marching bands are one of the last vestiges of a once healthy culture. Talented kids with a strong sense of camaraderie and a lot of discipline..

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  10. Hari Om
    Now there is a character just waiting for a book to find him!!! YAM xx

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  11. Those kids are just fabulous -- and the experience will stay with them for their whole lives...

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  12. Sounds to me like absolutely none of you are sissies!

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  13. They band looks very impressive on that green field! To stand there in rain or snow must be strenuous, but I think they produce so much adrenalin at that moment, that they will feel tired only much later, when everything is over (and hot showers are waiting in your new bathroom)

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  14. I can't imagine marching (in time) and playing too. Too much coordination for me. You're right, not for sissies.

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  15. I would love to drive along with you and Joe and Emily, but the marching and playing in the rain/snow/sleet? Not that part :)

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  16. I like a good band, makes music come alive.
    Merle................

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  17. Marching band is very hard work. Favorite Young Man was in marching band all four years of high school. They performed very intricate and enjoyable routines. During his senior year he was a "featured" performer, moved to the front when they put down their instruments and danced. I don't know where that man got his dancing genes because his father and I can't dance.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. not me. no way, no how. marching in the cold rain and snow? HA!

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  19. I remember marching band and yes, it is not for sissies.

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  20. I had friends in M.Band, and knew they worked hard at all the practices and practicing at home. I love watching the Rose Parade and seeing all the high school bands that qualified. Amazing.
    Great photo.

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