I am a band geek.
I’d like to be able to tell you a story about how I started playing the oboe in 4th grade band and it was love at first note. I’d love to be able to tell you how I practiced every day and worked my way up from last chair to section leader, how I took private lessons and my teacher was so impressed that she invited me to join the honor band and by the time I graduated from high school, I’d earned a full scholarship to Julliard.
My real story is a bit less dramatic.It all began when I was in 8th grade. The band parents organization from the Catholic high school I was going to be attending came to do recruitment at our school. The band had been selected to march in the Orange Bowl Parade in Florida. The parents showed a video of the band and talked about how much fun it would be to represent our school and our state in the parade.
I was hooked. I wanted to go to Florida. There was just one little problem.
I didn’t play oboe. Or trumpet. Or any other wind or percussion instrument. **And for those of you who suggest color guard? There’s a reason my parents didn’t name me Grace.**
I played the piano. Which, even if you’re not a band geek, you’ll probably understand when I tell you how difficult it is to play a piano in a MARCHING band.
No problem, said the band director. She can play the cymbals! And so I did, thus beginning my foray into the world of percussion, and my life’s journey as a band geek was begun.
I stuck with it for four years in high school, having what I still regard as some of the best experiences of my life, and making dear friends. Then I chose to major in music in college, continuing with incredible experiences and friendships. After college I directed a high school program for five years, then moved on to a different career. Although I’m not directly involved with bands anymore, I’m still a band geek at heart.
As a student, director and volunteer (and later full-time staff member), I encountered an organization now called Music for All. While it’s been through a few iterations of the name (Marching Bands of America became Bands of America, which became Music for All), their purpose has remained the same: To Provide Positively Life-Changing Experiences. Founded in 1975, They do this with a VERY small professional staff and a nationwide cadre of volunteers. The core of their management have been with the organization for many years. It is a group of people who are PASSIONATE about what they do, and more importantly, never forget for whom they do it…the band (and color guard and orchestra) geeks of the world.
You can check MFA out here. Go now. Be sure to come back though, as I have a favor to ask!
OK, so in this season of giving, Chase Bank has decided to donate $5M to worth charities, and Facebook fans get to help decide who should get the money. You guessed it, MFA is one of the candidates. If you’re on Facebook, won’t you please take a moment to vote for them? It’s very easy…just click on the button below.
We band geeks have to stick together, you know!