When I mentioned band camp and playing the flute, damn if I didn’t get some comments about that but I didn’t go to THAT kind of band camp. And although I may have had a close personal relationship with my flute, it was only fingering and blowing for my part. But, there was this one time, at band camp when…well…
OK, I had the WORST band director in the world. Seriously. He once asked what a “re-gay beat” was and he was serious. Never mind that the song he was referring to was “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie. Yes, we had to play the Lionel Richie medley in band. Yes, I went to high school a long time ago. Oh, you want to know some other great hits we played? How about “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from the Beyond Thunderdome Soundtrack? That was a good one. And then there was the West Side Story medley. As ubiquitous as Pictures at an Exhibition if you were in the marching band. AND he wore white patent leather shoes with a matching white patent leather belt. Do I really need to say anymore than that?
So this band director had an unnatural fondness for his bullhorn. He was loud enough without it but he liked to get all up in your face with the bullhorn and yell at you for being out of line or whatever. It was truly annoying. And he was truly annoying. And eventually some people got fed up. One night, as some friends of mine were pulling into the parking lot for band camp, they saw the bullhorn. Someone put it on the ground in front of the car, in jest, mind you, and someone else may or may not have accidentally stepped on the gas of said car and the bullhorn…well, the bullhorn was placed, flattened and useless, back on the band directors podium.
The band director arrived at rehearsal, picked up the bullhorn and totally lost his mind. Oh, he used it, flattened as it was, to attempt to yell a confession out the marching band. No one spoke up. You may be familiar with the differences within a marching band, or maybe not. But generally the baritone saxes hate the piccolos for playing such small instruments, the flag squad hates the rifle squad, the clarinets hate themselves because what the heck are they doing in a marching band anyway, the flutes hate the world and the drums are oblivious to everything. But in this one instance, for this one moment, an entire marching band was united. No confessions or accusations were made. The band stood at attention, silent but with quiet smiles.
This one time at band camp, being in the marching band was actually cool.