An: I had rookie training tonight. (Or really yesterday night. It's 12:50 am) Granted I'm a veteran and didn't need to go, but I still wanted to. This is based off my own personal experience. 6 o'clock is when it starts. I'm driving up to the school at 6:02. 'Great.' I think. 'I'm late' I hurry out of the car saying goodbye to my mom and walk quickly to the outer band room doors with my trumpet. I walk in to see that everyone is already seated. In my mind I'm cursing up a storm. 'Shit mother f--ker.'
My band director is at the front of the room when he spots me and yells out. " Jenna! It's summer! Why are you here?"I glance up at him. "What? I can't be here?"He laughs and smiles. "Do you want to march?"I smile and set down my trumpet. "Oh yea I do."
Laughing again he looks at the rookies. "It's something when a veteran comes to rookie training."
I let out a small laugh and find a remaining seat near the rookies. Letting out a lazy grunt, I get out of my chair to make and put on a name tag. Finding my seat I sit back down and look at Mr. Barnes, our band director. For the next half hour he goes over the most basic things of Marching Band. Wear socks at all times, never eat in the band room, how much time we spend on the field through the whole season (250 hours), and any other basic thing he could think of. "Now," Mr. Barnes started. Everyone look at the tv screen. We're going to watch some videos. As he began to fool around with the video, he took out a DVD. Putting it in the VCR it showed a competition from our past season. Nearly all the veterans got excited and got up to sit in the very front of the room to get a better view of the TV. Myself included. For 9 minutes and 40 seconds we had our eyes glued to the TV. Some of us humming the tune, fingering the notes, (or act like you're twirling flags in some people's cases.) and smiling the whole time. I looked over at the rookies, and many of their faces looked indifferent. Others looked like they were angry and didn't want to be there. As we finished watching the videos from the past two seasons, I could faintly hear Mr. Barnes telling the rookies to watch the marchers feet.
When the videos were over we took our. The director taught them the most basic command. "Band Ten Hut". After that, Mr. Barnes taught them the basics of marching. The rookies seemed to understand it, but we'd learn if they really got it when we went out on the field. As we walked out to the football field. The freshmen got their first challenge; getting down the wet stadium stairs and not falling. The problem with our stairs are that they are so far apart from each other. The platform of one stair is probably about two feet. This creates a problem when walking down the stairs, and it's easy to want to run down them. But when they're wet or you have an instrument, it's suggested you don't. When everyone finally got down the stairs, (I took note that the rookie that looked angry earlier was the last person down.) we all huddled around Mr. Barnes.
"I want all veterans out on the field. 10 to a row, 2 step intervals." As we got in a two rows, Mr. Barnes began talking to the freshmen.
"Now, they are going to show how to mark time. Watch their feet. BAND TEN HUT!"Everyone snapped to attention and yelled out "ONE!"
The director started us off. "Mark time hut!""Check and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8." We responded back. This went on until we were commanded to stop. After marching in place we moved 8 to 5. It was simple enough. We hadn't done any marching since the parade a month ago, and no serious marching in 6 months. Some of us were rusty, (myself included) but we managed. At one point in our marching we could hear Mr. Barnes yell out something. Many of us weren't sure what he said, so we stopped, while others kept moving. This completely ruined whatever lines we had. I tried to catch up with the line, but we eventually gave up when we heard the clear "halt" being yelled out. It had ended up that all Mr. Barnes said was "band". We were never told to stop. I think he did this knowing that half of us wouldn't hear him clearly. But, it got a laugh out of the rookies and made them relax some. Now, it was their turn to march. When through forming three lines of 10,and one line of 4 we ended up having about 54 people out on the field. We started off my marking time. This went on for awhile. I could hear the director tell people to adjust and fix certain things. This also happened when we began to do some actual marching. At one point the veterans were told to stop marching, and only the rookies do it. As I watched them I saw that they were looking somewhat scared, confused, or irritated that they couldn't get it. I smiled and laughed to myself. I was in their position last year, so I knew how it felt. One time when they were called to attention, "one" was yelled out at 5 different times. It sounded bad, but many of us got a kick out of it. Freshmen included. Finally we were split up. Each section leader got a group of 4 people. The rest of us went with what ever group we wanted. I walked over to were the brass section was set up. It worked out that there were 4 veterans, and 4 rookies. Meaning we each got one to watch and make sure that they understood what to do. Luckily for me, mine did pretty good and needed little help. The section leader who was teaching them, Anna, stood off to the side and watched. We got into a lne to practice marching. The line went Rookie, Vet, Rookie, Vet, Rookie, Vet (Me), Rookie. This was set up so the freshmen could have someone to dress to, and ask for help more easily. When needed, the vets demonstrated things. I got a real kick out of doing this. We didn't have very much time with them, but we were able to teach them to march 8 to 5, 16 to 5, and we were able to let them try back marching once.
The Drum Major called attention and told us to make a block formation. As we all walked over to him we hurriedly made the block. It ended up that I was the only veteran in my whole line. I'm not quite sure how that worked out, but I tried and helped those around me. We did this for maybe a good 10 minutes until we shuffled back to the band room. But not after being locked out of the school and having to send someone to go around the front of the school and unlock the door.
Mr. Barnes thanked everyone for being there and told us that it would be a good season. He said he'd meet us back here Thursday at the same time and to get an apple from up front if we wanted, but not to eat it in the Band room. (The apples were from when we played at graduation the week before. When we got a break we could go "back stage" and eat) I picked up an apple and got a drink of water. When I came back I could hear some freshmen teasing a guy for brining his instrument. My instrument happened to be right by them, so I went to pick it up. They watched me for a second and said 'Oh." I don't think they said anything to me because they knew I was a vet, but I just walked away. I walked to the outer Band room doors and set my trumpet case down. It was raining, so I stayed by the door and had most of by body in the Band room. Near me was a rookie saxophone player I had been marching next to earlier, and several other veteran players from different sections. I noticed as everyone was talking to each other, the saxophone player watched them. I think he was too nervous to say anything. Shrek, a sousa player of ours walked up to me and asked if it smelt like fish where we were. I responded with "No, but It smells like a lake." He shrugged his shoulders and walked back into the Band Room. This some how got me and the saxophone player talking. He was saying how it was nice that it wasn't burning hot tonight. I explained how hot it can get, and told him the story of how last year at Band Camp it poured rain for an hour, and we had to hide in the dugouts on the baseball field the whole time. Shortly after this my mom called and said she was there to pick me up. I said goodbye to him and went out to my moms car. As I drove home (me and my mom switched seats.) I told her how it went.
To me, it's pretty exciting to see the rookies learn to march. I had been in their shoes last year, and now I get to help teach them and watch them become part of the Band. They still have many many things to learn, but it'll be cool to help them along, even if it's just words of encouragement.
AN: Not my best writing, but all I wanted to do was write out my story of what happened. There are a few things I left out, but that's because they don't really matter as much. I do enjoy watching them learn. I can't wait until Band Camp, or even out June practice starts and they see how big our Band really is. It's late (2:11am) and I'm tired. Late