This one time at Band Camp

This morning as I sip my coffee I feel a sense of calm I haven’t felt for a few weeks. Our days of afternoon boat rides with the wind in our hair, afternoon visits to the Lakeside Creamery and evening campfires seems like a long time ago. I have spent my weekend picking up the remnants of a cyclone called Marching Band that surges through my household every year at this time.

My son began his senior season of marching band with the start of band camp on July 27, 2015. Band camp is much more than band geek jokes. For marching band members it is a place to welcome and initiate rookies, to gather on the field in the heat for two weeks to memorize and rehearse music, learn dot formations and march until their legs ache, their feet are blistered and they’ve consumed liter after liter of water to prevent heat exhaustion. It is also a place for them to participate in team building activities and games. At the end of those two weeks they have become a cohesive group, a community within themselves; a marching band. If you sit and watch them rehearse during band camp, you’ll see them play it over and over again and wonder if they’ll ever get it right. Once you see them play what they’ve learned at the Parent Show which concludes band camp, you’ll notice with the blink of an eye, it’s all coming together. For any marching band parent, it is an amazingly beautiful thing to observe.

I am an active band parent, a marching band parent and nurse and I reside on the band booster executive board. Band camp is a busy time of year for us too. For the band parents it’s about fitting 60-70 kids for uniforms and altering them, fundraising and selling spirit wear, organizing events, meeting new parents and making them feel welcome and comfortable knowing that marching band is a good place for their child. There’s also eating on the run, rehearsals that run into the late evening, and getting ready to do it all over again the next day; in addition to the full time job you have to be at early each morning.. As the marching band nurse it’s also about being ready to treat whatever ailment they have when they come off the field and reassuring them that they can get back out there and march some more.

All of these things have happened to our band families these past few weeks. My house is a mess and I am way behind on household tasks. I haven’t had a decent home cooked meal for two weeks and sleep deprived is an understatement. Through the course of the marching band cyclone the activity seems never ending and overwhelming at times. All of those feelings disappear instantly the moment I see my son at a high school football game or marching band competition looking sharp in this navy blue uniform, holding his trombone high in the air, marching and playing music with his community; the marching band.

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