Hello, my fellow bandies!
It's been a while and I hope you had a great Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and a Happy New Years! Unfortunately, Hamilton got some extremely tragic news about a wonderful senior named Aaron who committed suicide. It's been a hard few weeks and everyone, especially the seniors, was heartbroken. R.I.P. Aaron, we all love you.
Moving on to something less tragic, I bring you back the Charger band! It's great to be back with the family after a week and a half. Let's start before I forget everything!
Today we had the Mark Wood (former violinist of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra) come and play with us today. "Fun" is an understatement.
Disclaimer (just in case): I do not own Finale, The Lord of the Rings, Set it Off, and whatever else I mentioned with a copyright on it. They all belong to their rightful owners.
Mark Wood Rehearsal, Day One (1/8/13)
Matt Oboe and I walked down to the band room after explaining to my Comm. Arts class where I was leaving to. I was anxious to meet Mark Wood and his family (especially his son, Elijah. I think he's so adorable). As I walked through the doors, I threw down my notebook and my copy of Becca Fitzpatrick's, Finale. I fell to the floor to grab my oboe and music. I was headed onto stage when I stopped by Mr. W. "Do we need to go on stage yet?"
"No, not yet," Mr. W said as I followed him back into the band room and dropped my oboe case back onto the floor with the music. I waved to sophomore tuba Matt (we have two tubas. They're both named Matt. Coincidence?) And walked onto the stage anyway. The first person I noticed was Sam L. I walked in and found myself just steps away from the world famous violinist, Mark Wood. I looked around to find Elijah, but I couldn't find him anywhere (seriously, I think I'm in love with him or something). I saw a two or three students crowd around Mark and I walked up to them. I stood next to Jeremy as we carried on a conversation about tech stuff. Jeremy told me that when our band gets really big, we're going to play with pyro effects.
"Hi, how are you?" Mark asked me as he set a hand on my shoulder.
"I'm good, how are you?" I answered politely. He didn't answer and started rambling on about tech stuff again.
Well, this is awkward.
Anyway, Mark told us to set up stands and chairs, so Jeremy, Niki, Sam and I started to set up chairs. I take that back; Jeremy, Niki and I set up chairs. Sam was our "supervisor" and made sure the chairs still worked. "The chairs still work, Sam," Niki joked as the four of us started laughing. She protested against our valid statement and continued to sit on chairs. I set a chair down and a white light shined in my eyes.
"Ow, bright light," I said as I shut my eyes and looked away. Jeremy burst into laughter and imitated me. "Ah, shut up, Jeremy," I said with a laugh as we continued to set up chairs. The four of us gathered around Mark again after setting up chairs. More students walked in.
"Hello, what do you play?" he asked Sam.
"I'm in percussion," she answered with a smile. He moved to Niki.
"How about you?"
"I play oboe," Niki said.
"Oboe, wow, nice!" Mark answered. He continued to talk to us until Kelsey (Senior, flute) and a few of her friends told us to set up stands. "Who is this lovely lady?" he asked while he took Kelsey's hand. "I love the nail polish!"
"I'm Kelsey," she said. "Thank you!"
"No problem; now why don't you guys help these lovely ladies set up stands?" Mark suggested as Sam L. came by and said,
"We're here to help the lovely ladies with the stands!" the small group burst out laughing as we set up stands around us.
As more band students came in, they all piled in and sat down. I went to the back to grab more stands for the sax's when I saw Elijah at his laptop. I wanted to say hi, but he looked busy. Finally, I jumped over my chair to sit down. It turns out I was sitting next to Devin and Niki. The chairs were very close to each other, due to the fire code. We were cramped, but we didn't mind. The HFAC is normally cold, so having all of this, plus lights, makes me a lot warmer.
I turned around, taking a good glance at the setup. There were the trombones behind us, followed by the tubas and bari, and finally the percussionists. Elijah's red drum set was on a stand with a billion fans around, under, and behind him. The trumpets, followed by altos and the flutes were on the opposite side of us. Mark stood in the middle of the aisles. He had a microphone in his hand and his violin on a violin stand.
Once everyone settled down, he started talking. "Hello, everyone, I'm Mark Wood and that on the drums is my son, Elijah!" People started clapping and cheering. "Remember, you are not playing random black dots. You are playing music!" he said into the mic.
"I don't know what you're playing, but I'm playing the oboe," Niki joked as Devin and I burst out laughing.
"Now, let's look at my lovely sections! We have the clarinets!" he shouted over the mic, expecting a loud response. They all looked at each other, confused and cheered quietly. We all burst into laughter. "We have the flutes!" there were loud screams from them, considering there were twenty-seven of them (I think; it's over twenty). "We have the saxs!" Cheers erupted from all of the saxs. Devin, who was playing tenor, screamed out of nowhere. I covered my ears and laughed. He went over every section, except for the oboes. Great, even a world famous musician forgets about us. I don't know if I should be surprised or not.
Anyway, we pulled out our music and ran through some. Mark put his violin strap on, while Niki, Devin, and I gazed at him in awe about the violin strap. "Okay, that is the coolest thing, ever!" Niki said over the roar of the band. Devin and I laughed.
"He's, like, saying, 'I have a violin with a strap, so fuck you, that's what,'" Devin said as we burst into laughter. "So, his son is named Elijah Wood, just like the actor who played Frodo from The Lord of the Rings. Frodo disappeared and, like Elijah, is also gone! Coincidence?!" The people around us burst into laughter.
We played through some music (sorry, it's been all day and I legit forgot what happened in the beginning). Once we got to Carry on my Wayward Son, my embouchure was hurting like crazy. The drumline was standing way in the back, but Elijah tended to drown them out with his magnificent drum set.
"Wait…" Mark finally realized. "Are these drums portable?" he asked. The whole band burst into laughter as we looked at the fully-strapped-on-harness-and-all drumline.
"Yes," Mr. W said with a smile on his face. "They can move."
"Great! Why don't we have you guys down in the audience and get them moving?" Mark suggested. "Do you think you guys can walk and play?"
Wait a minute.
"Did he seriously just ask the drumline if they can walk and play?" Devin asked Niki and me as we burst into laughter. I lightly hit Devin's leg playfully, saying,
"We need to show him our marching shows!" The three of us burst into laughter and watched the drumline walk around. I could see Sam in the distance. Her face looked paler than usual and I hoped that she was okay. They did a pretty good job on the whole drumline thing and Mark gave props to Sam because he wrote all the drumline pieces.
Our next song (I forgot it… I'll add it in tomorrow if I remember), had Alex walk around with a tambourine and dance. I was in the middle of playing when I saw him dance; I burst into laughter along with Niki. We finished up with Stairway to Heaven before our lunch break. Mark's part was beautiful. At least, I loved it. "Alright, guys, you can head out to lunch!" Mark said.
"Be back here at 12:20," Mr. W said as I took out my phone and took it out of sleep mode. The first thing I saw was my background photo, a picture of Chris from art survey class, wearing my thin, white, polka dotted headband, a Christmas gift from Bea. I put it on him yesterday and took a picture of him. I laughed at the picture and checked the time. It was 11:50. I dropped my reed into its case and headed back into the band room, looking for Sam.
I couldn't find Sam, so I headed back to the stage. There were a few teachers there and Devin and Jeremy. Jeremy sat on the risers for the choir and took The Stool to play some drum beats. I sat one riser down, my back facing his. We sat in somewhat silence when I literally had nothing to do. Eventually, Elijah walked in to grab something out of his bag next to his drum set. I looked over and smiled at him, him returning one. This day was getting better and better.
Eventually, Jake walked in as I was half asleep on the risers. I could barely feel my mouth from all of this playing and I stayed up until 1AM playing Club Penguin with my friends. Don't ask why, either. Its fun trolling ten year olds. "Hey, Jake," I said as I sat up.
"Hey," he said.
"How are you?" I asked him.
"Pretty well. So that Elijah guy broke one of his drum sticks and a chunk flew out and hit me in the head," he said as I burst out laughing. "See," he pointed, "You can see it right there on his stage." I looked over to the drum stage and saw a giant piece of wood lying on the floor. I laughed some more.
Soon, a lot of the band came back in. Alex walked up to Elijah's drum set and some of the percussion followed. "You're tempted to play it, aren't you?" Sam asked him.
"Oh, very," Alex answered. "Think he'd mind?"
"Yeah… Don't touch it," Sam said as she turned back to some of her other friends. We crowded around the back and stared at it. It was a dark shade of red and shined under the light. There were at least a billion cords coming from his laptop and mics around him.
"This is such a nice kit," Alex admired, "I really like that hi-hat."
"I wish I knew how to play drum set," I said as I stared at it. Alex put his hand on my back.
"Don't worry, you will one day," he reassured me. I smiled. Mr. W called us back into our seats and Niki came over to me.
"Emily, you need to go in first because you're in the middle," she said.
"Aaahhhh…. Why do I sit in the middle…?" I complained. It's my own fault for getting last chair I guess. I got back in my seat and we worked on more music. Mark put the badass violin strap back on and we watched as the trombones decided to do a trombone suicide (if you don't know what that is, YouTube it and watch DCI do it. It's really cool). We all laughed as Mitch was almost hit in the face. All the sections are doing something really awesome… and the oboes just get to sit there. It was almost pathetic.
Mark called for a five minute break as the choir came to join us for the last hour of the day. I got up and walked to the back. My goal was to talk to, or at least say hi, to Elijah, as long as he didn't run away again. Typical percussionists. Some of the crew put a glass wall behind Elijah, creating a barrier between him and the choir. I saw my friend, Brittany, walk in and stand on the top riser. We were fangirling over Elijah. It's a two day thing, so why the hell not? She smiled and pointed to him. I know! I mouthed to her as I turned away and walked up to the drum risers to talk to Elijah. "Hey, Elijah, I'm Emily," I said to him with a smile on my face. He turned away from his laptop and smiled at me.
"Hey, what's up?!" he said enthusiastically.
"Nothing much, just wanted to come and say hi," I said.
"Cool! So, what do you play?" he asked me as he messed with some sound settings on his laptop. It created all the guitar and bass parts and whatever else we needed for the concert on there. That was the main source.
"I play oboe and a little bit of percussion," I told him.
"That's awesome," he replied.
"Yeah! So, are you enjoying yourself? Liking the school?" I asked him.
"Yeah, it's a pretty cool place. I've been staying here a few days prior to this and I like it a lot," he answered. Well, at least someone likes Sussex.
"That's good," I said as someone interrupted me. I turned around and saw Jeremy just inches away from me. He went to go talk to Elijah. I turned to Brittany on the risers, who was flailing around as much as you could in a cramped space.
GET HIS AUTOGRAPH FOR ME! She mouthed to me. I smiled.
I will! I reassured her as Mr. W and Mark called us back to our seats. I climbed back in as we ran through a few things with the choir. Finally, Mark stopped us and turned to A.J., our first trumpet.
"A.J., I like what I'm hearing! Try a solo for us!" A.J. didn't protest as he raised his trumpet to his mouth and played a little bit of Stairway to Heaven for us.
"I give him props; he's been playing all day," Niki said as I agreed with her.
"All the way from… wait- WHERE THE HELL AM I AGAIN?" Mark exclaimed as we burst into laughter. We all shouted, "Sussex," to him. We ran through the rest of rehearsal. Even with the choir having the mic on, the percussion drowned them out. I could barely hear them.
By the time of our last song, my embouchure and inside of my mouth (that's what happens to me if I play oboe for too long) was literally on fire. Miranda called for band buddies today, which means more band afterwards. Yay for me. "Alright, wonderful work, you guys," Mark said. "I have to get a picture. It's on panorama mode, so pose like a rock star!" Niki leaned on my shoulder while I linked my arm with Devin's as we raised our hands into the air. "It's going on Facebook later!" he said. (If you guys are interested, Facebook search: Mark Wood (under musician/band) and we'll be one of his latest posts. The quality really isn't great, but you will get the gist of the set up and the size of the band/choir. You can't really see me, though, not that I'm all that important)
"There's a Band Buddies meeting right after!" Miranda shouted as we all walked into the band room. I take one last glance at Mark, his wife, Laura, and Elijah.
(This'll be quick, I promise. I need sleep. It's nearing 1AM)
I joined the meeting after saying goodbye to Brittany. Miranda explained the process of picking out music for their concert and all that crazy stuff. After the meeting, Jeremy, who was my ride again, and I walked out the door and headed to his car. It wasn't as cold as the time we spun out, but the cold still numbed my hands. "That was awesome," Jeremy said.
"Yeah, but I am done playing my oboe for the rest of forever," I said as I hopped over some puddles.
"Oh, please, my hands hurt like hell. I've been playing congas for the past two songs. I didn't know if you could hear me or not," he said.
"Don't worry, I heard you, and I can't feel my mouth," I said. I don't disagree with him that congas hurt your hand after a while, seeing as I play it for jazz, but it doesn't compare playing the oboe for five hours straight.
"Yeah, I can't feel my hands, either," he said.
"Playing an oboe for five hours is pure torture," I argued back. We quit the conversation. It wasn't worth arguing over it.
"I still loved Mr. W's line from yesterday, 'don't worry, if we don't sound good, they can turn us down,'" he said as we both started laughing.
"Heh, yeah, Mr. Skillet," I said. Mr. Skillet was the nickname that Mark gave Jeremy after we couldn't find our nametags and he was wearing his Skillet- Monster shirt.
"Yeahhh…" he said with a smile on his face. "I seriously thought that his son was going to be a complete asshole," he started, "most people his age that are famous are usually assholes."
"Nah, I knew he was nice," I said. "I like him. I think he's cute," I said with a smile on my face. There was a good ten second pause between us.
"Okay, then," he finally answered. We reached the student drive and the busses looked like they were about ready to hit me at any given moment. There was also a car coming straight towards us. "Go," he said as he wanted me to walk in the snow. "Fine, then I'll just cut in front of you," he said as he stepped in front of me. I tugged on his backpack.
"Yeah, you do that. Like I said, I'm going to die in a car accident, I can already feel it," I said.
"Most likely," he said as we crossed the road and headed to his car. He unlocked it and we headed off. We reached the road where we spun out last time. "There's a turn here, the ditch here…" he said and I laughed. "Yes, we reached further than we did last time!" I put a fist up in victory.
"Yes, progress!" I said as we laughed and tried to find our way to Lannon. Eventually, we found it. The two of us found a parking space next to Nick's red truck. I pulled out my drumsticks as Jeremy locked me in the car. I pressed random buttons on the door until he finally opened the door and let me out. "Way to lock me in," I said sarcastically.
"Just get out of the car!" he said with a laugh in his voice. We passed Nick's car and I accidentally nicked it (no pun intended) with my sticks. "Way to go," he said. I answered with a laugh. We passed a pile of stone. "Hey, look, stone!"
"Good observation," I said as we signed into the office. Jonah was holding up the line, signing everyone's name in when he got to mine. "You're never going to spell it, Jonah," I said.
"Just put a 'T' and let's leave," Jeremy suggested as I grabbed a visitor's pass and wondered where the band room was. Mrs. C, who works here as well, gave me her keys if the band room wasn't open. Jeremy and I passed my old fifth grade teacher; Mr. B, as he smiled and said,
"Hey, Em! How are you?!"
"I'm good, you?" I asked. I never went to Lannon; I actually went to Maple, another elementary school in the district. After I graduated elementary school, he was moved to Lannon. The two of us found our way as the band room was already filled with students. The first thing I saw as I walked in was the tiny bass drum. It was about the size of bass 3 at school. Some of the kids were as tall as me, (sad) but Jeremy and I grabbed piano benches and sat down. A kid with a long sleeved orange shirt walked up to us.
"Are you Everett?" Jeremy asked him.
"What?" the kid asked.
"Are you Everett?" he repeated.
"What?" Jeremy gave up and pointed at me with a drumstick.
"Are you Everett?" I said in a louder voice. It was good use for drum majoring.
"Yeah," he said.
"Hi, I'm Jeremy and that's Emily," Jeremy introduced us.
"I heard you guys were in a ditch last time," Everett said. We both nodded. What a pleasant introduction. Devin, who was in charge of the small group (we all split up into different groups), told us what to play. Everett had two snare drums. I couldn't read any of the music (so, guess what I learned today?), so I left it all up to Jeremy. He had a bell set, but we focused mainly on the rhythms on snare and bass.
A little while later, Jeremy decided to teach him flams (They're pretty much the percussion word for grace notes, for all of you non-percussionists). "This is how you do a flam-" Jeremy started but was then cut off by a shouting Everett.
"I know how to do flams!" he shouted. Pushy, much?
"Okay, just making sure," Jeremy said.
A little while later, band buddies finally ended and we were in the middle of picking music when Sam L. walked through the door. "They need to go, it ends at 3:15," Sam said as all the kids packed up quickly and ran out the door. The high schoolers were left with an electric upright piano. We crowded around it for a little bit until we walked out the door to leave the school.
"Do you need a ride?" Jeremy asked.
"Yeah," I said as we walked to his car. We got in as Jeremy picked out a song. Niki passed us, getting in Nick's car. She gave an odd look and I smiled. "Ha, Niki just gave me a weird look," I told Jeremy as he put his iPod down, rolled down the window and shouted,
"Oh, HELL, NAW, YOU DO NOT GIVE HER WEIRD LOOKS! HELL TO THE NAW!" he shouted in his best Ghetto accent. The three of us burst into uncontrollable laughter. He couldn't even understand what I was saying because I was laughing so hard.
Eventually, we drove off. As he missed the turn to go to my house, I asked him, "Where are we going?"
"Your house," he said.
"You missed the turn."
"No, there's another way. It's longer, I think, but it works," he said as we turned onto Plainview. We ended up making one giant circle. "Pick a song," he said as he handed me his iPod. I scrolled until I got to the band Set it Off (GO LISTEN TO THEM IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY… THEY ARE AMAZING!) And turned on their song, Plastic Promises. I was satisfied.
We reached my house when he pulled up my driveway. "See you later," I said as I grabbed my backpack, "Crap, I gotta grab the mail."
"Heh, I'll make sure not to hit you," he said as he scrolled through his iPod.
"Thank you," I said as I ran down the driveway and opened the mailbox. To my luck, there was no mail. I ran back up and his window was pulled halfway down. "No mail," I said and he laughed at me. "See you later," I said again.
"Yeah, see ya," and he backed out. I walked in the garage and closed it.
One day down, one left. Concert tomorrow!
Okay, can't talk, need sleep. So dead right now. Night.