Yep, I'm back with more excitement from the Charger band. I found out how much I actually miss writing about the band is. That's why I decided to write about the memorable times during concert/jazz band. I might write about our upcoming New York trip as well! I'm not going to write every day because 1) we know it's not going to happen and 2) not every day is interesting…
As usual, let's start!
11/1/12 Band Class
Sam and I walked from GAP to the band room. She wasn't feeling well because she said her chest was hurting. This happens occasionally because it's just something that happens to her. Sam has Congenital Heart Defect (CHD), but it, by no means, slows her down at all. She can push through pain and that's something I admire her about.
I picked up my backpack, which was open because a certain someone went through it when they got bored (Yes, Jeremy, I'm talking about you) while I was WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Examination) testing. His Rammstein CD's were gone and I assumed he took them. Anyway, I walked to "My Corner" of the band room (which really isn't a corner) and set my things down. I walked back to Sam, who was sitting on her iPod on Twitter, with her usual quietness that occurs when things like this happen. I try not to get too involved in this because I don't want her to get mad at me for trying to do everything for her. I back off my distance a little bit and if she needs me, I'm here for her. Simple as that.
We both sat in silence as I heard Jeremy walk in. He threw his binder by the drum set and walked over to us. "Hey," he greeted us. He looked at Sam. "What's wrong, Sam?"
"I don't feel good," she mumbled, still staring at her iPod.
"What?" he asked. This child is deaf, I swear.
"I don't feel good," Sam repeated, not looking up.
"What?" Jeremy asked again.
"She doesn't feel good," I finally said in an irritated tone. Testing all morning and putting up with the GAP teacher really doesn't put me in a good mood.
"Oh," was all he said. I looked away from both of them as Jeremy bent down to sit next to us. We all sat in silence for a few minutes.
"Hey, Emily, can you help me set up chairs?" Kevin asked from across the band room. I was so glad he broke the awkwardness between the three of us.
"Sure!" I shouted to Kevin. Jeremy walked behind him to go help. "I'll be back, okay?" I tell Sam. She nods and I quickly join the boys in setting up chairs. When we make it to the HFAC (Hamilton Fine Arts Center, which is a really, really nice auditorium that can seat 720 people or something like that), we walked over to the garage. Kevin opened it and we all ducked under. The whole stage was dark. After slipping out to Kevin of my fear of darkness, (It's not that I'm afraid of the dark… it's what might pop out at you is the scary part) I was afraid he'd pop out at me from behind.
Jeremy had his tiny LED flashlight on him and I used my phone (Flashlight app!) to find our way across. We made it safely across and turned on the stage lights.
Kevin and I use teamwork to push the cart of chairs over. The drama club had things set up for their next play. There were a million wooden chairs set up, a table with fake fruit, and a bucket. I moved the chairs as Kevin and Jeremy took the table.
"Don't touch thine fruit," Mr. W said as he walked in and pointed to the table. We laughed as they carefully set the table down. The two boys pick up an empty glass and clink glasses. They look over at me and I let out a small smirk.
We continue to set up chairs when Jackson and Devin walk in with their girlfriends and a cart of stands. We set up the stands and I help Sam pull the marimba to the garage. I take the un-needed xylo back to lower band and walk back to the FAC to see if they needed anymore help. They didn't, but I decided to talk to Bea. "Think I could steal Ally's spot for the day?" I asked.
"Is she here?"
"Probably," I answered. Just then, Matt walked in with his oboe. "MATT! Can I be you for the day?" I asked hopefully in a joking tone.
"YES!" He said as he turned around and talked to his friend. I talked to Bea a little bit before walking to the percussion stuff. Sam looked a lot better than she did an hour ago, but I could tell she was still in pain. I watch her play Farondole, one of our concert songs for this year. It is really epic and everyone loves it. I comment on her playing. She's getting a lot better at reading music and playing the bells. It makes me proud.
"I should probably go now, have fun, okay?" I tell Sam.
"Tell Nick I found The Stool!" Sam said as we both laugh. The Stool is just a wooden stool like any other. The percussion and I always fight over it to sit on it. It's been through a lot, especially since our old one broke last year during concert season. It was pretty funny, especially knowing that part of it was my fault. It went something like this:
-Flashback to last concert season-
I was helping Jeremy set up the drum set. We were playing a Beetle's medley and he got the drum set part. "Can you get me a stool?" he asked me.
"Where?" I asked him, thinking of all the places a stool could be.
"It should be by the percussion stuff. Check around," he said. I ran off to go find a stool. When I got to the band room, the upper band was already warming up and tuning and such. I looked around, jumping over cases, backpacks (it was our last class last year), and chairs. I had three options of chairs for Jeremy: a. an actual drum set chair that spins. B. The Stool. Or C. A similar chair like The Stool but was already half broken. I was surprised that it hasn't broken yet. That would change in a few minutes.
Anyway, I couldn't find any stool for Jeremy. I asked around the percussion section. "Andrew, (Tenor, grad of '12) have you seen a drum set stool?" he shook his head. I asked Alex. He hasn't seen one, either. I asked Shannon (Percussion/Pit who quit this year) and she pointed to one. We both go over to the stool and she picks it up. When we reach the cafeteria, she hands it to me and I thank her. I set it down by the drum kit.
I turn and put my reed in my oboe. I tune with Niki for a few minutes when I turn around to the percussion. I leave for, like, three minutes and there's Jeremy behind the drum set lying on the floor on his back, the chair broken in pieces around him. My first reaction was, oh my gosh, is he okay?! On the bright side, he was laughing. That scene that I witnessed in just seconds made me burst into laughter along with him. I still feel responsible for it to this day. I think we just threw that stool away, too.
-Unnecessary flashback over-
So, continuing, I find Nick walking with Sam L. down the FAC hallway. "Hey, Nick, they found The Stool!" I said. Nick smiles and says,
"The Stool? Finally!" he runs to the stage. I laugh with Marie behind me.
"Pff, percussionists," I say jokingly, knowing that we are both percussionists. Marie tied with Sam L. on her audition pieces. I, on the other hand, aced both my oboe and percussion audition with all last chair. It was depressing, but what can I do?
"Oh, I know, right?" Marie jokes with me. We both laugh and I get my oboe out. I take my spot next to Niki, who was passing out music for the whole lower band. She handed the oboe score to me. The cover read: Beethoven Menuette and Rondo. Well, this could be bad, especially because Mrs. C picked it out. She's also a fifth grade teacher at Lannon Elementary, so she tends to pick out songs for us that I could play back in seventh grade. I open the six page score and with a look of bewilderment.
"This is our music?" I turn to Conner L, a junior clarinet. He's not one to take band seriously, but he is a pretty good clarinet player for someone who doesn't try. If he would have tried a little harder, I think he would have at least made it up a little higher.
"I know, right? This is so easy!" he says as he starts playing it. Seriously, the song was all quarter notes and half notes. The rests were quarter rests and the song was in 3, 4. I swear, you could play this song in fifth grade and if you can count to three, you're okay! Jeez, Mrs. C, at least give us some kind of challenge. We're not fifth graders anymore.
"I'm going to work with the brass today," Mrs. C says as Niki takes her seat after passing out the music. "Since there are more woodwinds than brass, I'd like you guys to stay in here and work on music." We nodded as the brass went out into the hallway. "Section leaders, you are in charge!" Niki was my section leader, although my role as the pit leader somewhat applied. I wasn't allowed to take full charge, but since I'm older than most of this band, seniority took place as well.
Allie, a flute friend of mine, decided to conduct the warm-ups. She honestly isn't the best student conductor I've ever seen, and she's not afraid to admit that either, but I guess I have no say, since I took drum major courses last year (I don't know if I should call them "courses" but I have more experience than anyone in the lower band). My friends, Paul, Leah, and Devin were all my coaches (Paul, trumpet/DM, grad '12).
After warm-ups, as we promised, we played through the stupid song, me being the conductor. It was easy enough that I didn't exactly need an excessive amount of practice. I thought back to my lessons with Leah and Paul and Devin. Both my hands raised in the air above the giant clear plastic stand (which I was really disappointed that it wasn't glass after a dream I had where I punched a glass stand), I count off with my right and have my left join in.
We worked on this terrible thing that calls itself a song for half the class. After we figured out that a whole group wasn't working, Niki and I decided that low brass and reeds go off into the left corner. Sax's in a practice room, (which we got disapproving glares from a select few number of freshman) and the rest of us where we were. After we were all settled, I counted off and we began working. It sounded a lot cleaner without everyone else, but it still wasn't perfect.
About five minutes after we split up, the low brass and reeds pulled out a song and decided to work on it. I cut the woodwinds off and we all turned towards them. "Guys, what are you playing?" I ask them. Olivia turns around and says,
"We got bored of that piece of crap, so we're playing Farondole instead." Everyone agreed that this piece-of-crap song was getting old. I was with them.
"Okay, who wants to play Farondole instead?" I shout. They all cheer and I grab my score to read off of. I conduct the wonderful song and we had our best lower band run through of it ever. Mrs. C walked in a few minutes later, impressed by our work. A few minutes before the bell, I cut them off and excused them to pack up. It was one interesting day in lower band, but a fun one.
The bell rings and I pack my things up. We had a flip schedule today because of the testing, so Niki and I were headed to gym. I grab my health book, which Mr. D should be proud of me for having because it's been in my band locker since September, and head off to class with Niki.