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Back To School: The Magic Of Marching Band

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Confession, I was a band nerd. In fact, I was president of the band nerds my senior year and proud of it. So, when a friend recently posted link on Facebook, Why Your Teen Should Join Marching Band, I felt a desire to add to it.

For a small 3A school, we had a healthy sized band. There were about 100 kids participating throughout my four years of involvement. The first two years were more successful in competition than the second, but the fun times and memories increased as time passed.

The article, written by Mir Kamin, is so true. She describes the joys of marching band from the terrible uniforms to the dedicated band directors with such accuracy I felt like she was describing my high school experience almost a decade ago.

Our band director was dedicated to his students and passionate about his program. He lived it everyday. In fact, he is still famous at the local dentist office for driving me to a dental appointment so that I wouldn’t miss band period. His leadership and example led our band to regional competition in the fall of 1999. The next year he went on to direct the Kilgore College Ranger Band, where I followed him two years later.

Marching band is whimsical. While other programs have progressed technologically through the ages, the basic fundamentals of marching band remain traditional. Kids still wear terrible uniforms, march in unison, and play instruments that have been around for hundreds of years. They are still required to learn, memorize, and perform music that often times was composed long before they were born. There is a grace found in watching the order and nostalgia of a really great marching band performance.

Last fall, I attended my high school’s homecoming football game and saw the WOHS Band perform for the first time in years. Word spread through the stands during the first half of the game that the new director was tough, but fair, and that previous performances had been exceptional.

I’m happy to say the band lived up to the hype. They executed their performance spectacularly. I remember rolling video on my phone from the stands, and feeling proud to say that I was once a member of the White Oak High School Marching Band. Now, the band is even on YouTube… I guess that part has changed with technology. Below is their performance from the Region 4 UIL competition from last October.

If you, or your kiddo, are on the fence about joining the band, consider this as you head back to school. The band is a place where you will meet a group of intelligent, talented and funny young people with whom you will likely form bonding friendships. Take the time to read the article by Mir Kamin. It’s worth the read, and you might learn something magical about marching band.

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