This morning, I pulled out my piccolo and nervously fingered through some scales. I’ve laid out my clothes for this evening, and I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at practice. Done a bit of bitching about how hot rehearsal will be.
And when The University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band takes the field this evening, I’ll have butterflies in the pit of my stomach. What if I’m a line leader and I miss a turn? Will I be able to play and march all the music? What if the camera catches me as I do something stupid, like drop my music folder or get out of line?
Once a band nerd, always a band nerd.
Band Brings Out the Best of Small Town Texas
A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of watching the Carlisle ISD Indian band perform at their homecoming game. Oh, yes, there was a game–the Indians are currently undefeated and playing some awesome football–but I was there to hear the music and watch the marching.
Having grown up in Texas and drunk from the fountain of Friday Night Lights Kool-Aid at an early age, small town games like this one in Henderson embody all the wonderful things about band programs. Entire families show up; the elementary, middle, and high school campuses are within walking distance of each other and the stadium. Cheering fans are equally supportive of kids in the band and boys on the gridiron. Tiny kids dance enthusiastically to stand tunes and help conduct. Cheerleaders look to the percussion to supply that perfect cadence for favorite routines. What would the homecoming court presentation be without the dulcet strains of “Wind Beneath My Wings” playing on loop as the sun sets in a soft rosy gold sky?
That Carlisle Indian game buzzed with alumni because, in small town Texas, homecoming really is just that. Grown-ups stopped band directors to say, “Hey, Miss–how are you doing?” and give a brief summary of recent accomplishments.
It’s a long journey from those first band classes in middle school to 30+ years of university alumni band participation. Whether stepping out before a crowd of 100,000 for an ESPN halftime broadcast or taking the home field as part of a 100-member ensemble performing for an intimate crowd of family and friends, that band experience is a wonderful thing.