Category Archives: Marching Band

OK Go – Literally!

I’ve blogged about OK Go before, with their Here It Goes Again performed by the Notre Dame band as a magnificently huge halftime show …. And with OK Go performing This Too Shall Pass in uniform with the Notre Dame band.

They’ve done it again with another video for This Too Shall Pass, this time involving paint guns and their absolutely hypnotic Rube Goldberg contraption.



What Does It Mean To Win?

I don’t care who they march for or how they score … there’s just something ridiculously endearing about band kids.

Read the Chicago Tribune article and watch a behind-the-scenes video of Marian Catholic High School before the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis.

I love their band director’s advice. “The (trophy) cup is actually empty when you look at it,” he says. “Your quest needs to be: How well can you perform tomorrow — is there another level?”

The image of each kid filling that cup with their accomplishments makes me smile.

And he told them the definition of the word ”˜win’ ”” “To get possession of something by effort.”

Using that definition, what are some things you’ve won?

Countdown to Reunion

In just a few short hours I leave for my 30th high school reunion. I wrote about it when I heard it was being planned and again a few days later because clearly, I’m quite needy.

Still a bit apprehensive in ways I can’t exactly put my finger on.

I loved everything about high school and despite my crooked teeth and uber-awkwardness, I had a ball.

My friends included cool kids, cheerleaders, crazy-smart geeks, freaks and band nerds even though I was none of those things. I don’t know if that made me inclusive and progressive, or just clueless and desperate.

Let’s go with that first thing.

I loved them all and when I moved to Arizona during my junior year, I mourned my loss. And for those of you who’ve never lived without cell phones and email, let me tell you, it’s an abrupt loss. Complete lack of contact. I may as well have moved to the moon.

I guess what worries me is that they’ve meant more to me all these years than I’ve meant to them. Do they ever think of me and all the good times we had? Am I included in the recollections of their excellent adventures? Or am I a blurry presence at the edge of a distant memory?

But more importantly, do I hide this extra eight-and-a-half pounds with Spanx or do I, literally, let it all hang out?

PS – Here’s how it went.

Don’t Stop ”˜Til You Get Enough

I was minding my own business over the weekend, reading the Denver Post while nursing a lovely cup of coffee, when I saw a blurb about prisoners in the Philippines doing the Thriller dance. Now, trust me when I say I had every intention of letting the Michael Jackson news fade away from Beckyland.

Alas, I was lying to myself. In my defense, I didn’t know that Filipino prisoners ”” and so many others ”” have created YouTube videos of the Thriller dance.

Take a look at these.

Filipino Prisoners Thriller … The only scary thing about this is the guy in drag playing the girl from the video.


Sobe Lizards Thriller …


Wedding Party Thriller …you wouldn’t believe how bridal parties choreograph the Thriller dance! Almost makes me want to get married again.


Bollywood Thriller … what they lack in expertise, they make up for in speed


And it wouldn’t be BeckyLand if I didn’t have a Marching Band Thriller … always funny to see a marching band dance! Thrilling even! Skip ahead about 40 seconds or so.


World Record Thriller … that’s a lot of college zombies


Toddler Thriller … if she had a little bit of gray hair, I’d swear it was me dancing.


Marine Thriller … truly secure in his manly military bearing.


Star Wars Thriller … sorry – I can’t stop!


Thriller Hungary … I think they wanted to show off their costumes for a bit because it doesn’t actually start till about 1:40


Flash Mob Thriller … two of my favorite things



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??

Bugler’s Holiday Mania

Every time I mention Bugler’s Holiday, people ask me about it. So here it is in all its fabulousness …

The US Coast Guard Band:


One guy! Playing all three parts!


I wish they would have done this just with the vocals. It’s terrific until they start playing. But it’s a good illustration of how difficult the piece is to play:


You likey? I likey. Which was your fave version?

This Is Only A Test

My email subscription service, Feedburner, has recently been bought by Google. Now, of course, I’m having problems with it. It seems it’s not advising my subscribers of new posts. Since I post every weekday, this is quite annoying. I’ve done a couple of things in there to see if it might be a quick fix. If not, I’ll have to go all Becky on them.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

If it doesn’t get fixed, I guess my only other option is to hand-deliver a postcard reminder to you. Maybe with a picture of a cute kitty.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that either.

Guinness Goof

Humpy Wheeler is the name of a Man With Stories. Otherwise, what good is a name like ”˜Humpy’? Plus, he used to manage a speedway and his name is ”˜Wheeler’!! I can’t make this stuff up.

Anyway, Humpy Wheeler tells this story about a racetrack promotion he was involved in.

“We had a number of those [flops]. I think the biggest one was we were trying to break the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s largest marching band. We needed 5,000 people. Before the October race, we got every high school and college band we could from about 350 miles out. We had them assembled on the backstretch. Half would march in one direction and half in the other, and they would assemble in the big grass area of the main grandstand. It turned out to be an 85-degree day. Jay Howard was assisting me. As they started marching in, it got hotter and hotter down on the asphalt. A few people passed out marching their way to the center, and when they all got to the center 18 collapsed when they began the first tune. Jay looked at me and asked: ‘What do you want to do?’ I said the show must go on. About two minutes later, about 40 of them hit the ground. He looked at me again and I said the show must stop. About 100 of them hit the ground then. After treating about 300, fortunately with no permanent injuries, the world’s largest marching band disassembled very quickly.”

Read the entire interview in the Charleston, SC Post Courier.

How do you think Humpy got his name? Tell me a story a la Rudyard Kipling.

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.)

Marching Fundamentals

This is fascinating. No, really! Please don’t look at me like that.

The University of Texas Longhorn Band breaks down their marching fundamentals into step-by-step video tutorials. Go look at a couple (they’re short and they load quickly), even if you’re not interested in marching band. It will give you new respect for marching band kids and the skill it takes to march well.

Did you find it ”” if not as fascinating as I did ”” at least interesting? Did you garner new respect for marching band geeks? Are you ignoring me on purpose?