Monday, November 12, 2007

Ode to marching band

Seen on the car in front of me at a stoplight: "What happens at Band Camp stays at Band Camp."

I'm talking about the kind of band camp where you stay overnight and learn the drill for the new field show, the messiest cabin gets dish duty, and the guys who pulled pranks have to run laps around the field during free time. I had the pleasure of playing alto saxophone under one of the best instructors in Virginia marching band history, Mr. Dan Schoemmell. I not only learned to play an instrument and march in a field show, but also personal discipline, respect for my peers, teamwork, and how to make apple dumplings from scratch (it was a fund raiser). This Friday is the beginning of the high school football playoffs, so I'll be going to watch the band as Sherando BEATS James Wood.

You might be a band nerd if...
You've ever done roll-step while walking with a full plate or glass to keep things from spilling.
You've never been on a Friday night date, thanks to the football games.
You walk in step with any music you hear.
When you retell some of your favorite memories of summer, you start with the phrase, "This one time at band camp..." and mean it.
All your friends are in band.
You know how to play 10 popular-stand tunes, but know the words to none of them.
You point out key changes and dynamics when you listen to the radio.
You've never had to pay to get into a football/basketball game.
You've never sat in your class section at a pep rally because you're always playing.
You start humming a showtune from three years ago and your friends join in with their respective parts.
You think there should be horn pops in symphonic band. (for marching band geeks)
You insist (no, KNOW) marching band is more physically and mentally taxing than football.
Someone asks you who your favorite band is and you say "High school or college? DCI? Which division? I, II or III?"
You feel the overwhelming compulsion to tap out a drum cadence on the nearest hard surface, even if that means tapping it out on the stranger standing next to you.
You know what it's like to have a reed frozen to your lips.
You get upset when an audience can't clap in time or on the right beats.
You can tell what someone plays just by looking at them.
When you hear a school with the same fight song, you want to join in and play.
You get excited when you hear songs in movies that your band played.
You get annoyed when you are listening to the radio and the car's blinker is not in sync with the beat of the music.
You subdivide into 8ths, 16ths, triplets, and quintuplets a turning signal, walk pace, song on the radio, or just about anything that keeps time.
You describe distance in 8-to-5 steps.
You listen to a song and think about how cool it would be to arrange it for a field show.
You've ever tripped with your instrument and sacrificed your body to protect your horn.63. You tap your foot to elevator music and the radio.
You trade instruments when there's a substitute teacher for band class.
You've learned the hard way not to walk through the brass section without shoes.
You know that getting to a band event early means you're on time, on time means you're late, and late means you're in trouble.
You have a neck strap tan line.
You don't mind changing clothes on a bus.