I Was a High School Band Geek

Day 212

Extra-curricular activities are a boon to many high school students. It is here we often find our people. The ones that share our interests and geek out over the same things. For me, it was band.

Last night we attended my grandson’s spring band concert. This concert is the culmination of a year of hard work and provides a moment to reveal all the hard work and practice has accomplished. These band directors have taught their students well. They even have an orchestra with tons of stringed instruments – they were very accomplished. Much more than was accomplished when I was in band I think.

My foray into band came late. It was unfortunate, but my parents could not afford an instrument for me so I started later than my peers. My first band director did not know what to do with me and my shiny new Artley flute, so I was put into a ‘practice room’ with music (alone) so I could learn to play my flute. I tried hard, but teaching yourself to play an instrument properly is not easy. Eventually I got caught up, but that time alone took a toll on my musical ability.

Fast forward to high school. I still loved band. It was where I found my people — there and in art class. Academics came fairly easy for me so all the afternoon and weekend practices and summer trips did not affect my grades.

Our band director was very strict — even mean I would learn later in life. Our marching band won competition after competition. We traveled all summer long. Our director loved marching band and here I learned to love John Phillips Sousa. He wanted the band to be mostly brass so many students had to learn to play a second instrument for marching band. I, instead, chose to be in the color guard. I learned to twirl a rifle and I learned the Queen Anne’s Salute (although I did not carry a rifle in the band). I twirled a flag instead.

I think band started my appreciation of all types of music. My favorite was concert band. There was something about all the different instruments and all the different parts of the musical arrangement coming together that caused me to have chills.

Last night I got chills all over again. I am glad this school still has a administration and community supported music program. It is sad that not every school has the same benefit.

While I was enjoying band and art, others were involved in sports, or journalism or debate team. There was a lot to choose from all those many years ago.

How about you? Were you in band?

That’s it for now. This band geek is out.