The Marching Band Factor

Marching band is something that can either be the highlight of your entire high school career or the bane of your entire existence. To me, it was an absolute dream come true for the first four years 8th grade through junior year, I worked under the direction of this little old lady from Tennessee who had the experience of her years but the zeal and energy of a twenty-something. I let her know only a few weeks into my band career that I had every intention of becoming drum major one day. So from the very beginning she set it up so that I could work my way toward my goal. I quickly climbed ranks, starting as a featured soloist, a section leader, and finally an assistant drum major. Before her retirement I never had the opportunity to take the podium. Although she had all the faith in the world in me, there were too many seniors who wanted leadership roles and I had come to accept that fact.

When I finally managed to rise to the rank of drum major, it was under the direction of a man we affectionately deemed “the new guy”. A native of “the north”, he didn’t quite understand how things worked where we were. I did my best to show him how things were done, as he’d assured me on multiple occasions that his main goal in his first season was to make sure that things were as similar to the way they were before as was humanly possible. It was clear from the first day, though, that this was not to be.

This “new guy” sufficiently managed to strip away my love for music for an entire marching season. I never thought I was going to love music again, if I was being entirely honest with myself. This was only made worse by the fact that college auditions were looming ahead and if I wasn’t meant to do music, then I had no idea what I was meant to do. I mean, the entire six years I was in middle school and high school were completely devoted to music. I lived for the routine of concert band and the thrill of marching band.  Thankfully, in spite of everything I was put through in my senior year, I remained fiercely devoted to my craft and ended up earning a spot (and a sizable scholarship) to one of the nations’ premiere music therapy schools.

Now, however, as the end of my first season as a non-marching band member, I can’t help but think of how much I miss the rush of marching onto a field and knowing that there was going to be a massive trophy in my hands only hours later. I loved the rush of energy that came with a massive cheer from the crowd – when parents from other schools would cheer for something that they enjoyed- those were the moments I lived for. Tomorrow, I’m heading over to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch others live out the dream that I had been living for so many years. Really, it’s bittersweet.


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