I have to admit something that makes many people uncomfortable in these parts – I’m not a band guy.
Never went to band camp. Never marched with a baton. It isn’t from the stereotype that band people are geeks. I was in the orchestra and believe me, I knew the definition of a swirly or being pantsed up close and personal.
In orchestra, we didn’t know bands. We called band people the brass and percussion section. Furthermore, we all disliked the showoffs playing trumpet and we sneered at the off-beat bass drummer. We had refinement. Our leader didn’t stand at the podium in a funny costume with a feather in his cap, blaring a whistle. He stood in his tuxedo and tapped a conductor stick gently and we readied ourselves.
I put the violin down years ago. I think it was shortly after my senior yearbook had a picture of me, instrument in hand, with the caption “Fiddle me this, Batman.” My friend Jack likes to still rib me about it, and that was 30 years ago. My freshman year in college, I picked up the violin of a girl on my hall and she screeched in horror as if I would pull a Pete Townshend move and smash it on the floor.
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And yet, I’m still not a band guy.
At times, I feel like I’m in a bizarre world. I’ll go to a football game and a whole lot of people are there to see the band instead of touchdowns. I always looked at the band coming on the field as a sign I needed to hit the concession stand or use the restrooms, but do that in Fort Mill and people will yell, “Down in front!” and tell me to wait until the third quarter begins to go handle my business. I actually went to an event last year where the band performed before leaving for their competitions. The stands were filled and people were hooting and hollering during crescendos or when the flag twirlers would swing the things back and forth. I didn’t know when to clap, so I applauded when the music ended.
Guess who stuck out like a sore thumb? This guy!
I also didn’t realize how much of a commitment it took to be in the band. I often drive by the Nation Ford parking lot where a slew of teenagers are sweating their butts off in 96 degree heat to practice their routines. I think practices are 12 hours a day, so each dedicated band member also requires a dedicated tutor. Who knew band here would most closely resemble the Florida State football program?
I’m trying to get into it. I guess you can say I’m becoming a bandwagon fan? We have two really good programs here in Fort Mill with better recognition than many sports teams have. I still don’t know when to clap, but I’m doing it anyway.
Scott Cost: firstname.lastname@example.org