As I sit in my chair at my desk with what is perhaps the most wonderful gift a band director could ever receive from their band between me and the chair (a Shiatsu Massaging Chair Topper!) going full steam ahead I realize that it is long since time for me to post something, ANYTHING about the second half of the season. So, unless I fall into a deeply relaxing sleep, which is highly possible, here we go:
UMASS: how many band directors get to not only bring their “children” “home,” but are welcomed with open arms by the other band? The answer is simple: none. Over 700 college students from two different bands joined together in rehearsal, dinner, breakfast, photography and performance–and LOVED it!! The UMASS band BROUGHT breakfast to us at Amherst Junior High — for the ENTIRE band! The two pits went out for breakfast TOGETHER at a local joint; combined photos were taken of sections not only after the game but on and off throughout the whole weekend. And the list goes on. Yes, I got to drag out the horn and hack my way through a solo with Parks on the podium and for a brief moment we were both 20 years younger….but watching our student honestly support each other in separate performances and then come together as if they were always one HUGE band was a glimpse at the perfect world.
I echo Mr. Parks comments when he said that no where else in the country were two other college bands having the experience that ours were. A football rivalry that goes back decades and there were the two bands cheering on their respective teams while also joining forces to do what we do best: giving the audience members a moment in their lives when they could leave all their worries behind and simply enjoy the performance!
For me, yes, I got to bring them home. And it was perfect.
- Rehearsal on the new football practice fields–outstanding!
- Watching college students take care of middle school students literally half their size–wonderful!
- Vice-President Elect Joe Biden in the stands behind the podium during the halftime performance, looking at me and saying “IMPRESSIVE!”—priceless
Band Day was one of the best ones yet. Not because of Senator Biden’s attendence–that made it unique, yes. But the bands were all wound up from the moment they arrived and there was not a moment of the day that wasn’t filled with excitement. Could there be more cowbells in the pit? Probably! But this year’s extended cowbell pit was having more fun than perhaps any other section on the field!!
And then it finally happened….I always knew it would but I kept thinking it was still a few years off. But no, it was today, Band Day 2008 when my world shifted. At the conclusion of the massed band rehearsal this young woman comes up to the podium and says, “Heidi?” I looked down, wasn’t completely sure if I knew her or not–she looked familiar but I couldn’t be sure so not wanting to embarrass either of us I simply said, “Yes?” And she said, “I KNEW it was you! The moment I heard your voice over the loud speaker I said to myself, “I know that voice!” She was in my band at Temple University and her SON was in one of the high school bands participating in Band Day!
Oh how life can race past you, and if you’re not paying attention you will miss out on the best parts.
Take 50 people of ages ranging from 23 to 86, give them musical instruments, put them on a football field playing “New York, New York” and what do you have? ALUMNI BAND!! And then invite everyone who has ever been in the UDMB onto the field for “In My Life” after the game and you have not only 800 people in front of you, but you also have FUTURE members of the UDMB there with them. When each rookie class arrives for band camp I tell them many things, but two of those things are 1) the next 4 years are going to go by faster than the blink of your eye; and 2) many of you will meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with right here in the UDMB. And every year the rookie class laughs at both statements.
Meanwhile, each winter I receive anywhere from 2-5 wedding announcements/invitations to “BANDO” weddings as well as birth announcements of “baby bandos.” Laugh all you want rookies….but many of you will be joining the masses whom I look at and say “I told you so.”
**And for all of you who hang out in the stands because you love to watch the “baby” band perform and also want to tailgate and not perform with alumni band….GET OUT ON THE FIELD! The more of you who join in the day the more reason we have to pursue coffee and danish at the morning rehearsal as well as a tailgate UDMB Alumni Band TENT! Come on gang–give me a reason to work harder next year!!!**
…enough for now….Senior Day and Banquet posts coming in a bit.