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An Exciting Musical Journey!
I'm with the band!! The band? What band? The marching band, of course! A dear part of my life that I treasure is the times I have spent with marching bands. I first marched as an 8th grader at 13 years old in my Junior High.
Every fall when the leaves are turning beautiful colors and the air is turning crisp, I get that itch to hear the marching bands with their special sounds marching over the football fields & city streets!
Photo of West Chester University Golden Ram Marching Band thanks to Chsdrummajor07.
Marching Band Camp
Worth the Hard Work ~ Awesome Band Friendships!
I've always loved music tremendously, but I wasn't so sure of the marching aspect. The first day of "Band Camp" in junior high I roasted under the hot August sun on the marching field. When I came home with heat exhaustion, sunburn from hairline to ankles, and aches from marching around all day, I started wondering why I had decided this would be fun! But, I had made a commitment to the band and adored my band director, so I went back the next day. I learned pretty quickly that sunblock and water bottles were my best friends, along with getting into shape both physically and mentally for the rehearsals. By the end of the week, I was glad that I stuck with it!
The strong camaraderie of my fellow musicians and guard members that began that week is one that is still alive to me as an adult. You see, although music awakens my soul to every emotion and fills my heart with expressive joy, the biggest reasons for LOVING the marching band were not about creating music! If you were ever in a band, you know exactly what I mean. Yes, our director encouraged us to work very hard to achieve the best music we were able to do, and we spent innumerable hours marching around to get those sets just right. We were a fairly descent junior high band if I say so myself! But, whether we did well or not had nothing to do with why I was there. Our school football team won their share of games that we played at, but that didn't matter either. So, why did my classmates and I stick with the constant practice and name calling from our non-band member peers? It was the friendships that were made (some of the dear people that were fellow bandos are still important people in my life), the teamwork it encouraged (one quiet little piccolo player out in the middle of the field would be pretty silly), and the sense of belonging (really belonging!) to one of the biggest groups or clubs in the school.
High School & University Marching Bands
I went on to join an awesome high school marching band which played at all the football games, marched in parades, and competed in multiple band competitions during the fall. During each fall season from August through November, my world was based around everything marching band! My time was spent in rehearsals, travel, games, or performances, and the only friends I saw were the ones in band with me.
The marching band adventure did not end in college since I majored in music education. The Golden Ram Marching Band was and still is incredible! With them I experienced several cool parades, professional football games, and university activities. My dream at the time was to become a marching band director myself so I could continue the experience and share it with the next generations of musicians. Well, all dreams have a few avenues I suppose. I found that I worked better with younger students and smaller groups of students. Therefore, I was blessed with a teaching position to direct 4th - 8th grade indoor bands at a lovely school, and I began my small business of teaching private music lessons which I continue now in my 21th year! I am very happy at what I do, and wouldn't trade it for any other job!
My Little Brother in the Orange Bowl Parade! - Orlando, Florida
Marching Band ~ The Next Generation
Along comes my daughter who has heard hundreds of music lessons before she was even born! As soon as she was able to stand and reach her little arms up to my piano keys, she was a musician! I've enjoyed watching her love for music grow as she is maturing, but what gave me the hugest thrill was watching her this past year performing in the same high school band that I was - with the band directors who inspired me at that age! She truly has the marching band bug in her! She acts like she lives for marching band! She tells me all about the rehearsals and performances in a super energetic way with that same thrill. My husband and I are "music parents", of course, and help to serve the band. My hubby likes to work in the concession stand at the football games to raise money for band events. My job of choice is a band roadie. Traveling with the kids to their games, parades, and competitions, and getting to be on the field with the kids brought tons of great emotions back to mind and heart. I am extremely happy she is getting the opportunity to be in this fabulous organization!!
The two high schools in our district have separate marching bands to perform at football games and competitions, but combine the bands as one for parades. In the fall of 2009 when the two high school football teams played their yearly game against each other, the band directors decided to share some exciting news with the packed stadium crowd. Both of the marching bands lined up on the field to play the "National Anthem" before the game. During this time it was announced to the band members, parents, and the town that the marching band was chosen to be one of the bands to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on the first day of 2011!! Whooo - hoooo!!
Our Hometown Band on NBC Philadelphia!
Yep, I'm a proud band parent! =D
Marching in a National Parade!
Of course, it is not easy for a marching band to:
~ (1) be accepted into such a parade, and
~ (2) be able to afford such an adventure.
Every year thousands of bands around the world apply to the major parades! Through a very long process, the Tournament of Roses Parade team listens to and watches audition videos of the bands, narrows it down to hundreds, visits bands in parades and field shows from their local communities, interviews directors, and finally make their choices for the top bands of the year! The whole process can take years from application to parade route.
Once the bands have been notified (usually a year or two before the year they will perform), tons of preparations have to be made by the band directors, band members, music parents, and the community. Travel plans are put together, reservations are made, publicity is started, and the kids greatest fund-raising efforts are begun. I wasn't aware of how many different ways there are to do fund-raising until now. The band members have been working extremely hard now for about a year selling all sorts of things - pizzas, candles, pies and baked goods, pretzels, and jams & jellies. The parents continue to fund-raise in the concession stands. Local businesses and corporations are currently donating funds for the kids. Activities such as car washes, massive yard sales, and other community events are taking place. And, my favorite, the band members have been doing tons of hours of community services to earn their way across the country.
Well, we are all very excited about traveling to the parade this next New Year's Day! Everyone's hard work will lead us to a wonderful reward!
The Long Road to Pasadena!
Have you marched in a national parade?