This is the time of year for graduation ceremonies, and here at Diva U., we’ll celebrate our grads this weekend. While planning the logistical part of the ceremonies is my job now, in a former lifetime, my involvement in graduation ceremonies was limited to music.
As in conducting it.
As a high school band director, it was my responsibility to corral the bandos and conduct them in the prelude and ceremonial music. The prelude music was pretty basic. Whatever we’d performed that year at our concerts was fair game. The ceremony music was fairly straightforward as well: play the Alma Mater and processional/recessional music.
In other words, “Pomp & Circumstance”, more specifically, March No. 1 of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp & Circumstance”.
For those of you who don’t know this song by its name (because seriously, you DO know this song), allow me to virtually hum a few bars…
The most famous part of this march is the Trio section, which is about 2 minutes into the recording above.
When I was a band director, my kids would soldier through innumerable repetitions of this piece. One spring, after we’d practiced about forty-eleven thousand times, I had a brainstorm.
I ran a lyrics contest for Mr. Elgar’s music. Now, before my fellow music educators get all over me, yes, I do know that there are lyrics. But seriously, after you’ve done forty-eleven thousand run-throughs, you’re lucky if the lyrics in your head are even fit for mixed company, if you know what I mean.
So I ran a contest for the best lyrics to good old P & C. The only stipulation was that they had to be “clean”. It was a family show, after all. The winner was a French horn player with an incredibly creative mind. He passed away suddenly in January of 2009, but this was always one of my favorite memories of him, and I still have a copy of the original in his handwriting. He makes my Commencement duties a lot more fun every year.
And so, for all of you band directors, band kids, band parents or anyone out there who knows what it’s like to play “Pomp & Circumstance” forty-eleven thousand times, I present:
Pomp & Circumstantial Evidence, by Jacob S.
I really hate this song.
It goes on forever,
And when you think you’re done
You have to start over!
Why did somebody decide to
Inflict this torture on innocent youth.
Because if I find out who
I swear to you, I’m gonna sue!
And to you who disagree,
That this song destroys sanity,
If you really think I’m wrong,
Get down here and play along!
Now the low brass has melody
I think I missed the last repeat,
Please Miss B. let us end,
No, it’s back to the top again.
Miss B. forgot to close her hand,
and thus confused the entire band.
Was that a fist or was that an “E”?
We’ll just play eternally.
I am quite sure that those folks
for whom this song always invokes,
Feelings of nostalgia
Never had to play this stuff.
I think I’m a measure behind
Why, Drummer, keep time
This is criminal Miss B.
It’s called “cruelty to minors”.
Graduates keep filing endlessly.
I think the flutes are in the wrong key.
Who played that sour note? It was me!
Can’t we stop I have to pee!
I REALLY HATE THIS SONG
It’s much too repetitive, much too long.
And if given half a chance
I’d burn my “Pomp & Circumstance”!