The Biggest Family You Never Had

February 27, 2009
I once heard the kids in my French class discussing marching band. 'I just don't understand how marching around in circles on a field could seem appealing,' said one girl. 'I mean, props to them, but'?' I tried to think of a way to explain that we weren't in it for the marching or even the music.
You've seen those actors, the ones who work together on the same set for years. They always say, 'We're like a big family!' and you roll your eyes at the commerciality of the empty statement or maybe wonder if it's true. Well, I've heard numerous band kids describe their relationships with their fellows with the same phrase, but I could vouch for the truth of every statement. Any kid with an instrument who knows what a shako is is someone you can trust when you march at North Oconee.
Maybe it's our common suffering that binds us. It's easier to relate to someone when you've both spent the past two hours becoming raisins under the sun, listening to Mr. Akridge say 'one more time, folks!''over and over. Comparing band tans ' darker on the back, lighter on the front ' is always a bonding experience. Hat hair and kneesocks and polyester and gauntlets and hairties are the components of our fondest memories.
If I can't help becoming irrevocably attached to a group of kids, I'm really glad it's these guys. If there is a more interesting group of people ' more intellectual, artistic, talented, funny, friendly ' in our school, they are either really short or living underground. I've laughed more in the band room than in any other part of the school. I've read more books recommended by band kids than by my teachers. Beyond that, we have fun. The fine arts wing is our playground, and we can make anything into something. Does that make sense? Maybe not. That's another thing ' some great things that happen between us just can't be explained.
Something that can be explained is the elation that pervaded the band the night we became Grand Champion of the Silver Division. Everyone was hugging with joy at having won, shouting in triumph at having defeated bigger and 'better' bands, crying with sadness over losing the beloved seniors, and being generally pandemonius. We'd worked hard for months, meticulously perfecting every detail of the show, and our hard work'wasn't being paid off. This experience, winning, is just the cherry on top of the marching band sundae. Under that lies the real source of our satisfaction ' the relationships we've forged, the hilarious stories we can tell, our acceptance into this body no matter from whence we've come'our music, our friends, our family.





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