Jan. 24th, 2010

safenthecity: (Mohinder thoughtful in bed)
For some reason, I’ve been waxing nostalgic about my high school marching band today.

It was truly one of the best experiences of my high school career. No lie, if it wasn’t for band, I probably wouldn’t have graduated high school. Not on time. Because if I hadn’t had to work my ass off at the end of my junior year in order to get my grades up to the level they needed to be to be permitted to march (we had athletic requirements; we also got gym credit) I probably wouldn’t have bothered to pass math, or psych, or to bite the bullet and drop English in order to have the necessary study hall to pull all my other grades up. I probably would have ended up exclusively passing speech and Shakespeare that year, honestly, that’s how bad my mental state was.

But when I thought I might lose the chance to be in band my senior year, I hauled ass to make sure that didn’t happen. And band, as well as winter percussion senior year, are what really pulled me through and forced me to get grades when otherwise I simply didn’t care.

The unique thing about my band was how it was a very atypical high school experience. We were (and remain) the number one competition high school band in Ohio, hands down. It made us unpopular at local competitions, but our school and community was incredibly supportive. The varsity cheerleaders stalked us (honestly- they were obsessed with our drumline and followed us to at least one Saturday competition completely of their own free will) to the point where, on one memorable homeroom morning, our center snare got good luck balloons the day before the big competition, and when a basketball player asked him what they were for, one cheerleader turned to him and said, “Uh, BOA Grand Nationals, duh.” The other senior flute my last year was Homecoming Queen, and she marched the halftime game that night with her tiara. And when I was in physics with the quarterback and one of our main defense guys, they asked me how we were looking for Nationals. Even the principal and the football coach came out to support us the night before my last BOA Nats. It was really incredible, and I remain grateful to this day to have been a part of it.

I know a lot of people on my flist are former band geeks, so this is my junior year show at BOA Finals. We got sixth in the nation and tied for best visuals. Technically we placed higher my senior year, but I think the competition in 2003 was stiffer and this is by far the superior show, IMO. The poster disabled embedding, unfortunately, but if you feel like it, check it out. (And if you look closely, I’m the flute player on the 50 during the flute soli from 2:24-2:48.)

While I by no means regret not pursuing band in college (I don’t actually enjoy playing flute for the music so much as I adored the thrill of combining the aural and visual and physical into the experience that was competition band, and college band is purely for entertainment) I do sometimes miss it. It almost makes me wish I played a brass instrument so I could have pursued DCI. Though I think I’m too old even for that by now. Ah, band. How you need to be an Olympic sport. For real.

ETA In case you thought I was kidding about the cheerleaders...

CHEERLEEADERS Comment About Marching Band - INCREDIBLE Drum Foot - The most amazing bloopers are here

ETA2 I just found out that this year's Winter Percussion is going to Europe (England, France, Netherlands and Belgium) over spring break to compete and show Europe exactly why they need to get their asses in gear making their own awesomesauce indoor drumlines. How ridiculous is it that I'm suddenly jealous of high schoolers?


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