Fall brings up so many amazing memories for me. Like this one time, at
band camp Homecoming my junior year, when the Band Council (true story – I was a member) decided that Pep Band was going to participate in the Homecoming Parade with the most epic float of all time. As in, our first float ever. We got maroon and white balloons and crepe paper and some poster board and markers, and we concocted the most unfancy yet spirited Band Float of all time. (“BAND: It’s What’s For Dinner” being my favorite of our spirit signs.)
The next year, we upped the ante by actually matching the Homecoming theme of Jamaican Me Crazy. The following are actual pictures of that event; prepare to feel the spirit, mahn.
Oh yeah, “We’ll Kick Your Brass” was another of our clever spirit signs. How I miss high school band.
Which is probably why I auditioned for the Manhattan Wind Ensemble. It’s been nine years since I played in a concert band, and so, when a sudden, impassioned Google search led me to the website of a Manhattan-based symphonic band that plays Ticheli, Grainger, and Grantham, I was like “Um, SIGN ME UP!” Which they did. And so I auditioned.
And as those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I made it! I am once again toting my piccolo and flute to rehearsals once a week. In case you’re wondering what it’s like to return to something after nearly a decade, here are some things I learned at my first rehearsal the other night:
- It may take you ten to fifteen minutes to remember how to keep up with sight reading a piece of band music. This is acceptable, as long as you play softly enough that no one hears your rusty gears cranking to life.
- Dinky portable music stands have gotten so much hipper in a decade. My new one is a classy shade of matte black, has a carrying case with a handle, and doesn’t require assembly each time I open it. It’s also remarkably sturdy! #thelittlethings
- I still suck at long breath phrases.
- In fact, I am so bad at breathing that I nearly passed out. I felt like I was in fourth grade again, just learning how to make a sound. So much air….
- Oh yeah, then there’s the spit. There’s a lot of it, and nearly all of it finds its way into one of three keys that are crucial to making the right notes. #where’smycigarettepaper?!
- My pencil was waiting for me in my case, after all this time. However, it does need sharpening.
- Adults don’t talk when the conductor cuts off. This is a miracle. Where were you all when I was in high school?! Probably glaring at all the kids who kept talking in your band, too. #goodytwoshoes #noregrets
- I have a lot of practicing to do. ‘Cause, um, we’re playing this piece.
If you’re in New York, you should totally come check out our first concert on October 6th at Riverside Park. It’s free! And you’ll have a blast. ‘Cause autumn air + band geeks + great music is a recipe for awesome. (See above photos.)