“Because it is senior year, I have begun to see things as potential absences. The things I love will become the things I’ll miss.” —David Levithan
For the past eight years of my life, band (and music in general) has been a part of my daily school schedule. At the end of fourth grade, my school had an introduction night for those who were interested in learning to play an instrument. I originally wanted to play clarinet or saxophone, but after trying out different instruments, it became apparent that my natural inclinations were with brass instruments. So beginning the summer before fifth grade, my parents bought me a shiny new trumpet, and I took a couple months of basic lessons to familiarize myself with the instrument. After that, I continued to take band for the next eight years (even though it messed up my schedule for all four years of high school and ended up shoving me into multiple classes I didn’t want to be in). At the start of freshman year, I auditioned for (and got into) my school’s jazz band, which I can safely say is the most fun to play (along with pep band at sports games).
With four years of inconvenient scheduling conflicts aside, band has genuinely had a great benefit on my high school career. As a yearly tradition (and one of the biggest highlights of every year), the high school band goes on tour. Tours consist of a few concerts and primarily sight-seeing/having fun. Depending on the size of the groups and convenience of time, the choir will sometimes come with; but band tours every year. The location is different each time, and the length of the tour differs, too. No matter the distance of the destination or length of the trip, though, all the students—usually less than forty—in band (and choir if they come) are put onto one coach bus for the entire trip. Some trips were only six or seven hours away, but one of them was nearly thirty-five hours, one way. My freshman year was Kansas City, Kansas; sophomore year was Orlando, Florida; junior year was Chicago, Illinois; and senior year was Branson, Missouri.
The most recent tour—Branson, Missouri—actually concluded a few days ago. We got out of school about halfway through Thursday (March 12th), and after “packing” (some packing, mostly just standing around chatting and missing class) for nearly three hours, we loaded everyone on the bus and departed for a local school we were performing at. (This school, in fact, is actually where the guy I asked to prom goes, and I decided to ask him on that day. But that’s a story for another post.) We drove a few more hours before stopping for the night in Des Moines, Iowa. After playing a concert at a school in town, we packed up, ate lunch, and drove seven more hours to Branson. We stayed in Branson a few nights and saw three shows there—Pierce Arrow, The Amazing Acrobatics of Shanghai, and The Haygoods. All three shows were actually really good, and as a country fan, the music at the Pierce Arrow and Haygoods shows was enjoyable. We had one day of shopping/free time in town, which is always my favorite day on tours. After those few nights in Branson, we headed to Kansas City, Missouri (about a three-hour drive) and stayed the last night there. We played one more concert on the way back home, then drove about six or seven more hours to where we live in Minnesota.
The tour as a whole was a blast, and my band tour experience definitely ended on a positive note (no pun intended). Since it is my senior year, this was (logically) my last band tour. This is one of many “lasts”—some of which have already occurred, and some that are coming up. Some of the “lasts” will be those full of relief or gladness that it’s over; but others—like tour—are ones that I’ll definitely miss. Even though the class caused problems in my schedule for four consecutive years, I don’t regret being a part of it. Not only has learning an instrument and being a part of the group been fun, but I’ve also made/gotten closer to some really great friends that I wouldn’t have been as close with if it weren’t for band. (
Wow, this sounds like such a typical band geek post. Oh well.)
The biggest thing I’ve learned by participating in band is the joy of being a part of something bigger than myself. Playing my own instrument well is part of what produces nice sound, but it’s not just me—everyone else has to be in tune with each other. Unspoken (and even unthought-of) trust is built between myself and those seated nearby. Whether we sound amazing or not, knowing we (the band) have the ability to worship God through music is pretty cool.