a simple smile

December 9, 2009
“What?!”, I yelled, “you signed me up for marching band?!” to this her reply was not what I wanted to hear “It’s exactly what you need, and besides it’ll be fun!” I looked down and the world seemed to stop while I began to think this over “I can’t believe this, why would she do this to me? What did I do that was wrong? I bet she won’t go through this like everything else she tries to make me do.” I slowly looked up with a slight smile on my face, my mom seemed to be satisfied with this, and only I knew that she was sadly mistaken if she thought that I was accepting the jail sentence that she had put on me. I began to walk away from her and she called behind my back “I almost forgot to tell you, you even get to go to band camp!”, “Oh, no.” I thought.

So three days later she brought me to the high school band room to audition, the whole time I was thinking to myself, “I should mess up on purpose so that I don’t get picked! Oh! I could never pull that off I would get caught the instant I tried!” The next thing I knew the band director walked out of his room and told me to start when I was ready, so I began to play the audition song, Land of a Thousand Dances, when I was done the director had a big smile on his face and told me to be in the room in a week from that day to get on the bus to band camp, both he and my mom seemed really ecstatic about this but I had a really sick feeling in my gut the whole time they were talking, and it only grew as people began to congratulate me for a good job. I realized that I had just sealed my own fate.

So there I was, sitting on the bus that was going to the one place that I hoped, throughout my whole musical life, that I would never have to set foot, band camp, I know just thinking of those words together is gross. I was sitting next to one of my friends from school who had also been forced into this “marching band stuff” by his parents. We sat on that bus for two hours and the whole time we were wishing that we didn’t have to be there.

When we finally arrived everyone was relieved to get off of that big, yellow, and stinking bus. We all began to look for our bags that had been previously unloaded by our band instructors. After about 10 minutes of looking I realized that mine were nowhere to be found, so I decided that I would put it off for later because I was hot, tired and man was I sweaty! I walked into the giant lodge that we would be staying in for the next week. So I found my room and walked in and sat down on the couch that was very, very comfortable for me at that moment, just as I sat down I heard a knock at the door and not wanting to move at all at that point I yelled for whoever it was to just figure out a way to get in because I had, very unintelligently, locked the door they began to yell so I went and opened the door and three boys who were all older than me walked in and I recognized them all, Dallin, Jacob, and Steven. When they had walked past me and settled in I looked back at the couch and there was no room for me so I just lied down on the floor. I noticed that Dallin had my bag and I said to him “Where did you get that?!” he told me “I picked it up for you and couldn’t find you so I just held on to it.” “Wow”, I thought, “wow” all of a sudden Jacob called out “Oh my gosh! You guys our first rehearsal starts in 5 minutes! It”s at least a 3 minute walk!”

What a great way to start marching band, huh. We hadn’t even been there for an hour and we already were working harder than I ever had before in band!

So we all got our instruments out and ran as fast as we could to the practice building. On our arrival there we heard the blaring mayhem of 20 flutes, 13 trombones, 25 percussionists, 15 clarinets, 6 tubas, 18 trumpets, 4 piccolos, and 2 other bass clarinets playing different pieces and scales simultaneously. So I walked over and took my place with the other two bass clarinets and watched as our conductors hands go up to silence all of us. He began to speak and said “Okay you guys welcome to band camp! We are going to go through a quick run through of our halftime show music!”

In my head I was thinking “Oh, no! Why do I have to be here, why do I have to be in marching band? I haven’t been here a day and already my ears are going to get blown out with the loudest mess of music I will have ever heard! I love my ears! Why do I have to lose them? Why? Why? Why?”

As our conductor raised his hands to start us off my fear grew with every centimeter more that they went up and it only doubled as they went down. He hit the first beat and everyone played their first note. They continued but I was too occupied with saving my ears to play. I noticed that the music wasn’t loud at all and so I uncovered my ears. The instant my ears were allowed to take in the music that was being played I was so taken back that I couldn’t think about anything but the music, I couldn’t even take my instrument up to my mouth to join them. I listened to the concourses of woodwinds mixed right along with the gorgeous sound that the sea of brass put out all kept together by the wonderful sound of the percussion. I soon felt a very hard hit right on my arm and was told by the bass clarinet player that sat next to me to start playing my instrument so I brought my instrument up to my mouth and added everything that I had to this wonderful piece of art that was being put together by over 100 performers.

As we finished our rehearsal I could not stop humming the beautiful melody line that was played by flutes, trumpets, clarinets, and the occasional French horn or baritone. I began to walk back to our lodge in the beautiful summer night to enjoy my free time for the next hour before I would have to go to bed. I was soon joined by a French horn player who I had known for the past two years, she walked up and said “Hey Gabe!” I replied back with a “Hi Nicole!” on the way back we talked about our summers and whatever else we wanted to talk about on the way back.

As we walked in to the building we were greeted with the scent of the most delicious food, and the sight of a wonderful pile of food on the table in the middle of the lobby. I took a couple of chips from the pile and went upstairs to the game room. As I entered I looked around for something amusing to do for my last hour before bed and noticed a girl who looked about my age playing pool all by herself.

I walked over to her and said “Need someone to play against?” she accepted my offer with a shy little smile we played and talked about everything there was to talk about school, friends, our families, and everything else. We played pool for what seemed like a minute but I knew had been a good hour and the some of the volunteers came upstairs and told us all that it was time to go to bed. So I told her goodnight and with that little shy smile on her face she told me goodnight also. So I began to walk downstairs with a big grin on my face and I thought to myself “hey maybe this won’t be so bad, good thing I decided to sign up!”

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