Posts Tagged ‘fightin blue hens’

Tomorrow is Homecoming at UD. There’s a buzz on campus for the first time in many years–a buzz that has students GLAD they are part of this campus. A buzz that feeds school spirit and one that makes just being on the grounds feel like HOME.  It takes an enormous effort to put together all the various events that take place on Homecoming–efforts that tend to go unacknowledged.  So let me take just a moment to thank the folks all over campus who have “stepped up their game” and made Homecoming something to look forward to as opposed to being a chore!!

With that said, the role of the band is multifaceted when it comes to game day. Preparation is pretty nuts frankly. Gotta get a new show out and make sure the old show is ready for postgame–toughest audience of the season: the UDMB alumni! They WANT to be wowed….(and in all humility I can say without any hesitation that “wowed” they will be tomorrow.) The band will have a shortened rehearsal at the ungodly hour of 730am in order to rehearsal with the Alumni Band at 830am. Then the Team Walk, then a quick “lunch,” then a performance inside the BOB at the President’s Reception.  After that we try (hope and pray) there is enough time to do the traditional concert in the Gold VIP lot. Then it’s clock work: west concourse parade and pregame.  All of that takes place between 9:30 – 11:45am.

…coffee…LOTS AND LOTS OF COFFEE will be required!

With all the insanity of Homecoming there are a few moments, albeit moments that are brief, that I cherish each year:

  • seeing the alumni from years past (this year we have folks from 1961 on the field!);
  • seeing their families (so many tuba mutes!  er, I mean, children!!);
  • seeing the multigenerational UDMB families on the field during “In My Life;”
  • watching the “old timers” mingle with the “baby band;”
  • smiling, laughing and knowing what it’s like to break the horn out again and trying to recapture your youth and relive those memories of entertaining the fans in UD stadium;

But most of all…I LOVE the stories! Each and every one of them begins with “Remember when…”

Tomorrow will be my 21st Homecoming at UD. I look forward to many, many more in the future. I know “the world did not begin with me” and that there were years and years of Homecomings that occurred long before I ever set foot on this campus. It is those stories I long to hear each year–the ones that happened prior to 1995. It is those stories I want the current band members to hear (albeit with an understanding that the world was very different back then!!). And the reason is so very simple:

You need to know where you came from in order to know where you’re going.

Welcome home alumni—we’ve missed you.

Band Day 2013: 64 degrees in the morning. Clear blue skies. Cover up with sunscreen and let rehearsal begin.

12 noon: 13 high school and middle schools being to arrive. Multiple water breaks given to the UDMB to keep them as fresh as possible–for it will be a 12 hour day for the Fightin’ Blue Hens.  Temps up to the mid 70’s. Everything seemed to be pointing to what would be a perfect Band Day @ UD.

Little did people know, Jim, Rah and I were hitting the refresh button on all our weather apps and radar apps…..”it” was coming and “it” was not going to be pretty.

After a little re-evaluation on the rehearsal schedule Band Day got underway! Over 700 performers shouting “Together, In, Out, Back…,” etc. echoed across South Campus.  Melodies of old rock and roll and new rock and roll were heard as far as the Green on North Campus.  The grid was laid out and the annual procedure of getting on and off the field commenced.  (It is and will always be about PROCEDURE even if one doesn’t have it written down in a 100+ page manual.  🙂  And just like that it was over.  It was time to move the visiting bands to their seats in the stadium. It was time for the UDMB to do the usual pre-pregame performances around the parking lots and under the stands.  And in a blink of an eye it was time for Pregame!

Halfway through pre game, in the middle of the National Anthem, “it” began.  A slight drip here and there, then a steady mist, and then a shower. By the time the first quarter ended we were experiencing a steady rain.  I looked to the stands where the high school and middle school bands sat expecting to see a mass exodus, for who in their right mind would ever choose to stay out in the rain to perform at a football game when they didn’t have to.  But there was no mass exodus.  There was simply a calm and quiet sense of resolution: we came here to experience something we do not get to do regularly and we will not miss out on this opportunity.

And of course, halftime was phenomenal. And of course all the school bands left IMMEDIATELY at the conclusion of the performance. And of course the UDMB stayed until the bitter end of a UD football win (or perhaps decimation would be more accurate) in order to play/sing with the team and of course perform “In My Life.”  And yes, reminiscent of my days in college band, when asked “How are your feet?” the response was “WET!”  …and it deteriorated from there.

But what of those lessons I referred to in the title of this post? What were they?

  1. Embrace the uncomfortable and you will find beauty is woven throughout.
  2. Share misery with others and you will soon laugh together as you’ve never laughed before.
  3. Band will give you what you want: if you want to have a great time you will find it in band; if you want to be miserable you will also find that in band—it is about CHOICE.
  4. When you see a puddle, jump in it — you’re already soaked so what harm will it do if you have some fun?
  5. Surround yourself with great people and they will make any situation worthwhile.
  6. And for Pete’s sake, don’t forget to DANCE!

Band is a place where you will experience life in a way you never dreamed possible.  You will make friendships that will last a lifetime. You will learn to appreciate the smallest of details as well as the largest ones.  You will learn to take time out of your busy day to day life to experience JOY.

And finally, when you are soaked through to your underwear despite wearing Gore-Tex everything and your new Athletic Director, who is also soaked completely through, puts you in a bear hug and asks with a massive smile on his face “Are we having fun yet?!,” you respond with a heartfelt “yes!” while beaming on the inside, for you wonder if perhaps someone else wasn’t there with you for a brief moment making sure you remember why you do what you do……