Thursday, November 19, 2015

Back to the Band Room...Again!

Tonight I went to go see the FHS marching band kids perform for their last night rehearsal of the marching season before championships.  The last night rehearsal has always been a big deal for me so out of all the days to stop by it's usually my favorite.  Last time I went to go see the band kids I believe was a year or two ago, I think also at the last night rehearsal.

So many things to write about!  Ahhhh!  So many things have changed since I was drum major 9 years ago, of course.  Marching band was a huge part of my life for those of you who don't know or who didn't know me back then.  It was something you really put your everything into, although it was also probably more stressful than anything else I've done so far in life, hahaha.  I was actually thinking about it a few minutes ago, how it really puts things into perspective -- my current job and troubles and everything seem so much more relaxed and easy than things were back then!  But of course, keep in mind that I was just not that good at handling those kinds of pressure situations back then -- I was REALLY stressed out during my tenure as drum major, in a way, probably more than I had to be...

Anyways, things have changed so much!  But at the same time, it was nice to recognize one or two old faces too!  Warren apparently is still there as music staff, and so is Bryan "Poptart" who was just a freshman during my senior year as DM!  I couldn't believe it at first,!  It was great getting to catch up with them and share some old stories...apparently Poptart is still spreading the lore of "Kenneth riding on an elephant at a monster truck rally", of which I have an illustration here, from my 1kbwc set:

As a small tangent, the 1kwbc "set" of 250 cards that I made is downloadable (with some preview images) at my 1kbwc page, on my old google sites website.  I haven't made a page for it yet on my new website, but should eventually.

For those of you who don't know the story, I'll go ahead and explain it's probably my #1 most retold marching band story of all time.  So Kenneth was my good friend at the time, also a senior, and lead trumpet player.  As the lead trumpet player, also responsible for a significant portion of the band -- I mean, we were never the biggest band, maybe 90ish total?  So we only had like 50 or so horn players.

Anyhow, Kenneth was taking these afterschool math classes of some sort (I'd call him a geek, but that'd be coming from me, the guy who took multivariable calc, differential calc, linear algebra, stats, etc. all at community college and maxed out on transfer credits going into stanford, never having to take any math classes at college ever), so occasionally he'd be late to nighttime rehearsals.

Now, being a small band, we always tended to have problems with volume and sounding loud.  I was always trying to get the band to play louder during warmups, especially my former section, the flutes, who of course are notorious for never being heard!  But this one day we were off in our usual spot and I was warming up the horn players and I was just, come on guys, what's the matter?  It was even worse than usual that day.

So I had all the horn players huddle up together, and I was like "Guys, what's going on?  Why are you guys so soft?"  And I think either Poptart or Bobby Rose points out, "Kenneth's not here."  And I was just like "......oh."  because of course that made perfect sense.  But then I was like "No no no, come on guys, we don't NEED Kenneth.  Alright,'s what I want you guys to do:  I want you guys to think of things that are LOUD.  Like, really loud things!"

"Elephants!" someone says (I want to say it was Sai Masumoto?)

"Alright!  Elephants are loud!  Good, good....alright, what else?"

"MONSTER TRUCK RALLY" -- this time it was Sam, trombone player, whose last name escapes me now for some reason =(

"...wait, what?"

"Monster truck rally!!"

"...uh...okay, yeah!  Yeah, okay!  Monster truck rally!  That's loud too!  Alright, what else?"

"....Kenneth!"  (maybe Bobby?)

".........ooookay.....well, sure, I guess."  "Okay, okay, so, here's what I want you guys to do.  I want *Kenneth*....RIDING on an Elephant.....AT A MONSTER TRUCK RALLY!  THAT'S how loud I want you guys to be, okay?  Everyone got it?  Alright, let's do this.  Number 4 (or whatever the chord progression was in those days). "

So we did it...everyone was playing at blastissimo/blartissimo/blat city...and it was....quite something.  Yeah, man, it was pretty loud, and basically sounded like utter crap.  I cut them off.

"UHHHhhhh....yeah.  Well....okay.  So, you guys....basically sounded exactly what I told you guys to sound like.  .....yeah, that was terrible.  Let's never do that again."

And thus was born, the legend of "Kenneth riding an elephant at a monster truck rally", the loudest thing in the universe.

Speaking of loudness, DAMN, those flutes marching down there, what the heck??  I could hear them loud and clear, it was insane!  Their flute angles were perfect too....omg, I was so happy and proud.  Wuaahhh, flutes, you guys are awesome!  And holy crap, they have an awesome flute solo, and the girl is just TOO GOOD.  Like sure, it was mic'ed and everything, but even so, her tone was AMAZING, and the vibrato was spot on and everything, like....what the heck???  Unbelievable!  Mad props to her!  Also, I know it was mic'ed, but tonight I heard something I would never, ever, ever hear before--a staff member talking about trumpets: "Yeah, I heard them, but they were getting drowned out by the flute."  wahahahahaa, when pigs fly!  Man....crazy!

Drumline had some really sweet and cool moments!  My senior year's snareline definitely could not have pulled off what they did I don't think?  They had some sweet visuals going on...actually, hornline had some really sweet visuals too.  I was really hype about the whole thing, to be honest.  I was quite impressed!

Anyways, it was quite fun getting to go see the kids again, I think I felt really good about it this time especially, and it was also really great being able to say hi to Warren and Poptart again.  I even brought along Bob the tuning rock and Jane the marching stone, which I showed to em so they could remember, hahaha.  Good times, very good times!  Little known trivia--I actually gave Bob and Jane to Chris Betts after I graduated, and it wasn't until later that he returned them to me for safekeeping.

Kids seem like they're doing really well!  Rehearsal also seems more chill in general now too...probably due to "certain things" having mellowed out a bit; I'm sure if you've been there you'll know what I mean.  I wish them all the best on their champs performance, and also wish that there will NOT be a super-crazy windstorm like there was during our second champs performance for my sophomore year (my first year doing MB) where our flutes were making soft noises even when we weren't playing, and the guards' hats were =everywhere=, and we could see trophies being knocked down on the tables in front of us....haha, what a crazy time.

Also, some traditions don't change...they're still doing the ol "Are you cold/why not/because we're firebirds" chant, which actually hit me in the feels when they did it, remembering all the times I shouted that myself.  Some traditions =do= change though, and I think they're super weird!  Their last night rehearsal has an in-uniform performance, which I think is cool but don't really like because....I don't really like uniformed performances to be honest, I love just having the band be....themselves!  And they don't do senior 8s and 8s at that rehearsal anymore either!  Which I think is a big shame, to be honest, since I think that's pretty important.  I guess apparently they do it the week after, along with a bunch of other senior stuff?  Very interesting...

Anyhoo, I'm off to bed after a pretty exciting night.  Feeling better so I'll probably make it into work and to FNW tomorrow, though I'll still have a leftover dry cough for a while I'm sure.  Looking forward to a good friday!

No comments :

Post a Comment