The Marching Band

Lower brass section of the marching band
Lower brass section of the marching band

Julie interrupted my phone call with sister Carol saying that we were late.  Before I could respond she was already out the door.  I hung up the phone, jumped into the car, and drove the 6 minute trip to the high school.

This was preview night, where we would see the marching band’s show performance.  The one that they would do for BOA in Indianapolis a week for now, or at least most of it.  Act three was still being worked out, and only days before the big show.

Our son Will had been going to long practices.  After school, weekends… hours and hours.  Going without fail.  Sometimes returning home tired and crabby, and at other times tired and slightly satisfied.  All that work.  All that time.  And for what?

Julie had started a meatloaf and it was in the oven.  The show plus the announcements had one hour to complete themselves, less we catch our house on fire.

The band tuned up.  The flags positioned their props on the ground … and then it started.

These events have themes.  This particular theme was based on a famous artist.   For some reason the joining of a painter and a marching band seems odd to me.  I honestly could not make the connection.  It was like randomly walking into an opera performed in a different language.  You know a story is happening, but you are not quite sure what it is.

What I did see was the dedication of these kids.  With instruments in hand they walked backwards, sideways, bowed and did other feats, all while playing.  The flags did their thing too.  Often interacting with the instrument players.

Months of long practices all boiling down to 7 short minutes on the field.  Step, play, bow, play… it was over in a blink.

During the announcement Will returned to the stands to sit with us, his new black performance uniform accented in neon green. He started practice at 10 AM and it was now 6 PM.  Tired, but still willing to share a small smile with us.

Next week the band will compete at Bands of America.  To me it doesn’t matter if they win or not.  Awards look great on band director’s desks, but that should not be the reason for extracurricular activities.

Will had to show up.  Will had to dedicate himself.  Will had to practice.  Will had to sacrifice. Will had to work with a team.  In the end he was able to do something that he couldn’t do in the beginning.

Today my goal is to realize that the act of learning can be just as important as the act of doing.  As they say, life’s a journey not a destination.