December 19, 2011
The band builds the crescendo until it's unbearably loud, a dissonant chord begging to be resolved. Then, suddenly, everyone cuts off as one - the rest before the climax, the calm before the storm. I see the drum major's arms quickly come down once, twice, three times, four, and then... An explosion of sounds.

The whole band plays the familiar, sweet music that always causes a tug of pride somewhere deep within my gut. The trumpets blare notes higher than they would have thought possible just a few short years ago, the clarinets and saxophones confidently belt their intricate harmonies, the drumline provides the rhythm, the beat of the band, and the trombones and low brass provide the bass notes that fill each chord, sometimes dissonant, sometimes resolving to a major sound. I, a flute, add my own distinct tone. My high-pitched melody joins the many other voices that come together, mingling to create the music we all love to play. The sound is rich and full, and I can almost feel my bones vibrating with the intensity and sheer enormity of it all.

I keep my eyes on the drum major, determined to stay with his tempo. He catches my eye and smiles. I know that he shares the rush of fierce pride that is coursing through my veins, the pride unique to marching band.

My friends are beside me, sharing the joy of our accomplishments, and I'm playing as well as I ever have. My fingers dance across the keys without error, and I wish I could just freeze this moment right now and stay in it forever.

But all too soon, the song is over. The drum major's arms stay up, and no one moves as the final strains of music die away, instruments still raised to our lips. We are all too awed by the sheer beauty and passion of what we have created. If there is such a thing as magic in this world, it is reached through music.

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