Category Archives: Marching Band

Signing Ceremonies

Tis the season of photo ops of student athletes signing their letters of intent to play sports in college.

Let me begin by saying that I am a mom who “woohoos” her kids for any and all reasons. If I were a belly dancer, I’d probably “jai ho” them.

Band competition? WOOHOO!

College financial aid? WOOHOO!

You’re a sailor? WOOHOO

Did your laundry without being asked? WOOHOO!

So I don’t have a problem with signing ceremonies of any kind. In fact, I wish there were more.

Because, really, how are these unacknowledged kids supposed to cope? They’ve spent 12 years in school being told “everyone’s a winner ”” everyone gets a participation ribbon ”” nobody is better than anyone else” and then this?! Some kids ARE better?? Just because they can kick or throw or dive or spike or run better? What’s up with that?!

Because we’re nothing if not egalitarian, the social scientists here in BeckyLand wish to give a shout-out to all the downtrodden kids who never got their photo in the paper. Mind you, Downtrodden, you still won’t get your photo in the paper, but at least we want to acknowledge the fact you’ve never had your photo in the paper.

So, here’s to all the kids who …
• have excellent penmanship
• never once got stuffed inside a locker
• kept wearing that shirt despite all the ridicule
• didn’t succumb to all the lectures about personal hygiene
• only had to see the Dean that one time. And it was totally bogus, dude.
• never got caught ”˜purpling’ on a band trip
• knew enough not to play with the spilled mercury in the chemistry lab
• survived 12 years of cafeteria lunches
• refrained from keying teachers’ cars
• cheered the loudest at the games
• had a small number of really loyal friends
• picked up trash even when it wasn’t yours
• volunteered to mentor squirrely 9th graders who didn’t realize they needed mentoring

But this shout-out is especially for the ones who got up every day without complaint, attending class with a smile and without attitude, knowing none of their efforts would ever really be acknowledged appropriately by anyone other than their mothers.

BeckyLand salutes you.

But seriously. Why no signing ceremonies for the brainiacs who are going to employ all these athletes in the future? Where’s THEIR spread in the newspaper??

Is It Broken?

… or is it just showing off its fanciness to the other nine toes?

I went to the annual Marching Band’s Big Beach Bash and Silent Auction Friday night, held at an indoor beach volleyball facility. (Yes, I know! How cool is THAT!!) And this is how my pinky toe looked Saturday.


Guess how I hurt it?

To make it easier for you, here are some activities I engaged in, in no particular order, nor with any length of time ascribed ””

– double-dipping the guacamole

– watching beach volleyball close to the strike zone

– drinking

– bidding on auction items, two of which I won in last minute flurries of untoward bidding behavior, including but not limited to pushing away other bidders, sitting on the bid sheets, stealing pens and otherwise demeaning myself and the entire auction process

– laughing in that long and loud way that I do, throwing my head back and gesturing wildly

– listening to and telling silly band stories from years past

– hugging folks I may not see till next band season

– walking to my car in the snow and ice, wearing only swimsuit, shorts and sandals (Don’t judge me. It WAS a beach party in February, for pete’s sake!)

– making fun of people who got carried away by Bidding Fever and overpaid for their items (Not me, of course … $40 for two plastic guns that shoot mini-marshmallows was clearly a STEAL!)

– carrying heaping plates (all my own, of course) of food across the uneven sand to my table – pretending I was The Dancing Queen Young And Sweet Only Seventeen and being Super Freaky … sometimes at the same time

– admonishing my husband not to shoot marshmallows at our friends

– throwing myself whole-heartedly into this event

– telling my favorite joke …. What’s brown and sticky? …. A stick

BTW, marching band parents DO have all the fun, just in case you were wondering, but, as my daughter pointed out, it brings new meaning to the Bash!

Hint: the correct answer involves at least two of the above activities.

Third prize … you buy me a beer next time you see me

Second prize … you never have to see the photo of my feet again

First prize … you can usurp either second or third prize

Winners will be required to post a photo of their feet. (Not really. Posting your feet online is just wack.)

Things I’ve Never Done

I’ve been hearing a lot about New Year’s Resolutions lately. In fact, I even wrote some of my own.

But recently I was reading the little note from the editor at the beginning of a magazine, and she wrote that she makes a list every January of “Things I’ve Never Done.”

So guess what I did?

Here’s my list of Things I’ve Never Done:

• Poked my eye out with a hanger
• Cleared a HazMat site
• Wore a mink bikini
• Lifted a Volkswagen over my head
• Held my breath till my lungs exploded

But as I re-read my list, it occurred to me that the editor I stole this idea from probably WANTS to do the stuff on her list.

So here’s my revised list of Things I’ve Never Done That I’d LIKE To Do:

• Go an entire day without saying, “Just DO it, okay?? Geez!”
• Eat a block of cheese without one pang of guilt
Cheerfully clean my house
• Get my house cleaned by cheerful people
• Write a manuscript that doesn’t need revising
• Be a synesthetic tuba player

What’s on your list?

Blind Marching Band

Even though my friend George was in charge of the ENTIRE Tournament of Roses Parade, I had to find out about one of Pasadena’s invited marching bands from a news station in New Zealand!

The Ohio State School for the Blind has the honor of being the first blind marching band in the United States.

Yes, you read that right. A blind marching band. The director’s motto is “If it can’t be done, let’s do it anyway.” What a remarkable man to throw down a gauntlet like this to his kids and what extraordinary students to not only accept the challenge, but to do it up right.

In case you were wondering … yes, I got verklempt as I watched. I’m looking for footage of their Rose Parade appearance, but can’t find it. Anyone?

I’m awed and inspired. Take a look at the video and tell me what you think.

Weird Search Terms

In the last few days, people used these terms to wander into BeckyLand. Some of them make perfect sense, but others?

• ala challenged books the book cut by pat
• church lady cake recipe?
• “my glasses” squint
• goofy horse humor videos
• pom on of mice and men (at least 100 kin
• huckleberry finn – synesthesia
• guess the carols
• “10,000 hour rule” +”writing a novel”
• im just sayin becky
• jesus obama
• allan pinkerton early life you are a fat penguin you stupid fatty you
• goofy texas marching band pants
• acts retreat in omaha, nebraska
• i hate synthesia
• why the book “i know why the caged bird
• tuba christmas

This cyber world fascinates and disturbs me. And probably others. Like the person looking for “goofy horse humor videos” who only found a video of me.  Hey! Wait a minute!

Goofy texas marching band pants” fascinated me. So I googled it. My blog came up as the fifth link, but how can you not investigate these other gems?

• The most effective way to strangle a band geek while still keeping their pants up. …
• If I ran for President, my platform would be… a marching band truck. … that one day the giant storm rolled in and I think I peed my pants a little …

This has got to be my favorite search term, though: “allan pinkerton early life you are a fat penguin you stupid fatty you.”

They totally win points for searching unique information, but I gotta admit, my feelings were a little hurt. Since my name isn’t Allan Pinkerton, that only leaves the fat penguin part. And I’m not a penguin.

What exactly do you think “pom on of mice and men (at least 100 kin” means? Besides the obvious ”” some high school student looking for homework shortcuts ”” of course.

Pomegranates in Of Mice and Men? At least 100 kinds? I don’t really remember a big tropical fruit scene from the book. Admittedly, I haven’t read it in awhile. And are there really 100 kinds of pomegranates?

Poem? At least 100 in King Lear? Did they get sidetracked in their research? Or were they trying to write one paper for two classes? I heartily recommend this approach to homework, by the way. I once wrote a paper entitled “Thar Juliet Blows!” combining my extensive knowledge of both Shakespeare and Herman Melville.

I guess I’ll never know what they were looking for … unless one of you ”˜fesses up!

What do you think they were trying to find?

You Might Be A Band Geek

You Might Be A Band Geek If …
1. You just found out that people pay to get into football games.
2. A story that begins, “This one time at band camp” really is a story about this one time at band camp.
3. You match step with whoever you’re walking down the hall with.
4. The football game is just the break on either side of the halftime show.
5. The only pick-up line you know is “Need any help with your fingering?”
6. You know that getting to rehearsal early means you’re on time, getting there on time means you’re late, and getting there late means you run laps.
7. You have a favorite time signature.
8. You conduct to the radio.
9. When someone asks who your favorite band is you answer, “High school or college?”
10. You know how many people fit in a tuba locker.
11. You argue with the administration to make marching band count as PE credit.
12. When people call you a band geek you smile and accept the compliment.

Got any more? Are you a band geek?

Tell me your band stories!

American Band

I was never in marching band.

When I was a kid, I took the obligatory piano lessons from the scary neighbor lady. I wasn’t very inspired (or talented) and took every opportunity not to play the piano. My father played the piano, including a rollicking good Bumblebee Boogie, and we listened to all kinds of music when I was growing up. In fact, I have an uncommonly clear memory of coming home from school to see my oldest siblings and my parents listening to the just released “Tommy” album by The Who. But as I write that, I’m wondering if it only happened in fuzzy BeckyLand because my parents were never there when I came home from school. They had to work to provide allowances to be frittered away on rock opera albums. Come to think of it, I don’t really recall attending school. Or having siblings. Or allowances. Other than that, it is a crystal clear memory.

Imagine my surprise when all three of my kids picked up instruments and played most of them fairly well. (I can confirm this is a Real Memory because I live in the house where they practice.) Between them they play: piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, tuba, upright bass, trumpet, guitar, recorder, kazoo, pan flute and that thing shaped like the horn of some extinct animal like in the Ricola commercials.

The one nearest and dearest to us is the tuba. Both boys march(ed) tuba in their high school band and because of their fantastic experiences, I became interested enough to use the marching band as the setting for my current young adult novel.

Even though I knew a LOT about the Wonderful World of Band as a Band Mom (much like a pit bull hockey mom, but without all the creepy lipstick), I still wanted to do some research to get other perspectives.

But guess what? There aren’t that many books about the high school band experience. I KNOW! But I found a really terrific one …. AMERICAN BAND – Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine.

It’s a non-fiction chronicle of the lives of a group of kids in an Indiana marching band. Stefan Fatsis says, “It’s much more than the story of a season in the life of the most fanatical practitioners of this uniquely American ritual. Kristen Laine has produced a captivating portrait of what it’s like to be a teenager in middle America in the first part of the twenty-first century.”

I found it riveting. I was sucked into the lives of these kids and I cried at the end. (I know, I know. I cried at the end of Shoot The Moon too. So sue me. At least this time I wasn’t a public spectacle.)

It provided excellent research, but it left me craving more. Laine listed some titles in the back of her book, most of which I can’t find. Do you know of any books about high school marching band? College marching band? Drum and bugle corps? Novels or non-fiction ”” I’d love to read more.