Chapter 1 - Band Camp

Valerie Blanche heaved the heavy car door shut as she gave her mother a final wave. She gripped her flute case nervously as she stepped inside the high school band room. Being the freshman that she was, this was her first time in this place. She had heard rumors about band camp and some of them caused her to question whether or not she really wished to be a part of marching band. Fortunately, her best friend, Cici, had convinced her otherwise.

Oh gosh, where is she? Valerie wondered, bewildered at the swarm of crazy high school band kids. She felt a bit out of place.

As if on cue, Cici strode through the doorway and grinned at her friend. Valerie observed that she was carrying two instrument cases.

"Really, Cici? You bring your oboe with you to marching band?"

"Yeah, Val, I've gotta practice during the lunch and dinner breaks. This thing goes until nine. I'll barely be able to fit a couple of hours in!"

"Oh you poor soul!" Valerie exclaimed, before feeling someone poke her on the shoulder.

She spun around to see Miranda, a clarinet player she had went to middle school with.

"Hey, Valerie! Did you make the youth orchestra?"

Valerie's face fell. "Uhh... No..."

Miranda's jaw dropped. "No? You're kidding, right?"

Valerie sighed. "No."

Miranda shrugged. "Well, it's their loss. You're so much better than everyone who made it! I know it!"

"Thanks," Valerie muttered sheepishly.

She had really wanted to make the orchestra. She knew that although there were three flutes in the orchestra, only one from the previous year had graduated, which left only a single open flute spot. She had auditioned as well as many others, and she had found out that she made first alternate. From the beginning, she had been well aware that it would be between her and Aaron Dash-a sophomore male flutist who had some more experience under his belt. Valerie had heard him audition and knew that he had barely beaten her. However, it still aggravated her terribly.

As if reading her thoughts, Cici chimed in. "It's alright, Val. You're just a freshman. You'll beat him next time. I promise."

"You can't promise me something you don't know!" Valerie protested.

Cici raised her eyebrows slightly. "Oh but I do know!"

"Shh!" an upperclassman hushed from behind the two.

Valerie turned her gaze toward the center front of the band room where the band director was standing with a drum major on either side of him.

The director cleared his throat. "Band, I appreciate your presence here this morning. This will be an excruciatingly difficult couple of weeks for some of you younger folks... But anyway, first things first. My name is Mr. Stilling, and I will be your band director. These are your two drum majors-Peter and Allison. I will begin with the roll call..."

During the roll call, Valerie noticed two girls toward the front, one with a flute and the other with a piccolo. They were both standing, though everyone else was sitting except for Mr. Stilling and the two drum majors. They stood with their chins pointed somewhat at an inclined angle, giving them intimidating auras.

"I hope those two aren't our section leaders!" Cici whispered.

Valerie groaned inwardly.