I know what you’re thinking.
You just read the title and all you can imagine is a flashback to the stereotypical image of a high school from the mid-2000’s. There are cliques, plastic heels clicking on the checkered wanna be marbeled floors that a Massachusetts high school couldn’t afford, and as you see a group of “nerds”, carrying a trombone, all you hear is a high pitched know it all muttering under her breath, “marching band is social suicide”, as they pass the band kid who just so happened to drop all of their notebooks on the ground. This is not reality. Joining band is NOT social suicide, but don’t worry joining mathletes still is.
Sure, we wear kilts that have been dated for the past 60 years, but we get to march in Santa Clause parades all over the province and even partake in the original Santa clause parade in Toronto. The thing about marching bands is that during a performance you always have to be “on”. You may be playing “Christmas Parade Sequence” in ten below weather with fingerless gloves because of course the instrument you choose only allows you to wear fingerless gloves and catch hypothermia, yet you somehow look at the crowd and see their faces filled with joy as you pass by and feel fulfilled to continue marching. Left, left, left-right, left. Besides, you have a 2-hour bus ride ahead of you to let your fingers warm up with those heating pads that you forgot to put in your double knee-high socks before the parade. And if you are a flute player, you have the worst of it, by playing so damn hard and you look at your peers thinking, “wow I did it, I sound so great”, but never truly succeeding because no one can hear the flute especially not in the snowing parades. Yet what keeps you going at the end of every parade is the free pizza and chili waiting for you either on the bus or at a fire station, where you can ditch your Santa hat and dig in.
People seem to forget that Canadians treat marching band and repertoire different then they do in the United States. Or maybe it is just my school. We do not have the bells and whistles of elaborate costumes with Mountee hats, but we do have moldy kilts and something way better than the picture perfect band; we have personality. Even when I first joined the band in grade 9, I automatically felt as if I belonged to a social group. You get to know everyone in the band, become a family, and connect with people who will actually get your struggles of being a band nerd. It is something I would never change it for the world. In grade 10 I dropped band due to being embarrassed by the stigma of being a band nerd, yet I found myself crawling back though after the first week of dropping the course.
All jokes aside, it will take over a large part of your life. You will find yourself waking up early twice a week and staying after school for hours just so you can have a decent sounding band. It is true that “Sorry I have band” will be your most used line (or a very good excuse that everyone will believe if you do not want to do something). But after all the practices, coffees, and knee-high socks, it is worth it. It is worth it to feel belonged. Maybe for you, that is the drama program or art club, but for me, it is the band. Do what makes you happy, and motivates you to be productive… also practice your chromatic scales…and maybe don’t swear while messing up on the exam.