Yeah, so I know it’s not Friday, but this is so current I had to post today. Why? My oldest daughter just happens to be the best flute (of course I’m objective) in the Homestead Spartan Alliance Marching Band, which won the Class A state championship for Indiana on Saturday night.
I could just look back and shake my head. Because, when I was in high school, marching band was not near and dear to my heart. I played oboe, and I learned that oboes could not march. I’m assuming this was because oboes have very delicate, expensive reeds that protrude approximately 3″ from the instrument, making it quite a challenge to march and play at the same time.
But whatever the reason, neither I nor the other two oboists, Becky and Mary, wanted to be in marching band. To do so would require us to either 1)learn another instrument, or 2)be flag girls.
I already played oboe and piano, and put a lot of time in on each. I even played a mean recorder, if you went all the way back to fifth grade. I really didn’t feel the need to conquer the saxophone as well (that was the suggested instrument). And “flag girls” were a new phenomena in the early 1980s, far from the glitzy “guards” today. Back then, flags was the repository for those who couldn’t play their instruments while marching or those who weren’t sufficiently popular and/or coordinated to become the envied majorettes. We even had a few flag boys, which I remember seeming absolutely scandalous at the time (“They have to wear pantyhose!”).
Becky, Mary and I went to the band director and asked him if we could bow out of marching band and just re-join band during concert season. I remember him kind of shaking his head, smiling, and saying that that was not an option (maybe because a bunch of others wanted to do the same thing?).
Anyway, I did really enjoy playing oboe, and so I proved that devotion by suffering though 4 years of nightly rehearsals in the southern Indiana heat and humidity, as well as the snow-flying Christmas parades, all to perfect the art of whipping a flag around. I wore white satin shorts and white boots with huge purple pom poms. I was quite a sight.
But life has a way of bringing things full circle. A year ago, my daughter didn’t want to join marching band. But then, in the spring she had a change of heart. Now, she’s as big a fan of marching band as I wasn’t.
Countless hours and hundreds of run-throughs later, she has a whole new group of friends and is a state champion.
Another daughter is a big fan of a sport (cross country) – another thing I’d have never chosen.
So what about you? Band or choir? Or none of the above? Do your kids love the same things you did as a child?