I almost gave up again in 7th grade. I had been courted by the Jr High music teacher who was trying to flesh out the music program with a few more kids. He came over and ate dinner with my family and pitched the music program to me, but I was rife with visions of art classes, shop classes, and other fine arts that I wanted to try. I tried them. I was bored. I went to the same music director in my second semester and asked to be added to the program. I was back in business again.
It helped that one of the perks of being in marching band is getting into the football games free. I am a football girl and not having to pay for my entrance to the games was nice. Granted, I had to work for that, half time shows don't just poof out of the air like magic. We practiced 4 days a week after school for 2 hours. It was hot, sweaty work. We also went to district marching contests where our precision was weighed and measured. I graduated high school with my fellow band geek friends. We had a kind of family.
I went off to college at UF in Gainesville. I joined the Pride of the Sunshine and FDL. If I thought high school was a ball, hoo boy, college was even better. I actually got college credit to be in marching band having the time of my life! We went to games in New Orleans, Jax Beach, and Atlanta. I went to Nashville, Knoxville, and Birmingham. I learned what a stadium filled with 85,000 people sounds like as they scream for you, (and it was me because I was driving Big Boom and the cheering started when our crew emerged out of the tunnel.). I got to see new places, meet new people, and expand my band family. I got asked for my autograph. I have been on TV multiple times. I was patted on the back just because I had on the orange and blue. It's a great feeling, to be a part of something that has far reaching hands all over the world to people you don't even know.
Now I am asking you for something. There is a Battle of the Bands contest on ESPN.com. http://tinyurl.com/3pqvaq There are 7 university marching bands competing for a $25,000 dollar donation to their respective school. Even more exciting, 5 of the 7 finalists are SEC schools!!! It is a promotion in partnership with Lucasfilms and the new Indiana Jones flick that is coming to DVD. Go and vote for what ever band you choose. They all have videos of them playing the "Raiders Theme" that has been arranged by their directors, so you can see and hear what these organizations sound like. (I have UF's over in my side bar. Give it a go.) I am partial to my Alma Mater, UF, but vote for whom ever you want. What is important here is that $25,000 can be used for scholarships, new instruments, equipment funds, and uniforms. With gas being like it is, it would go a long way towards bringing 8 to 9 charter buses of band members to an away game to support their team and cheer them on to victory!
We as a society have written off the fine arts as expendable. We have so much trouble just getting Johnny to behave in class so he can be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic that art, and music have been thrown to the winds. Go and vote for a band....any band, because we shouldn't have to live with out the cracking of a drumline, or the roar of a full brass front.
Yep. I'm a band geek.
PS- If you get a chance, watch all of them. LSU's is awesome!