Saturday, September 14, 2013


I am not a football fan.  I don't know the rules.  That Spouse o' Mine does not enjoy my watching games with him.  "Ooh!"  "WOWEEEE!"  "Ouch! Why do they DO that?!" and so on.  It's best I go in the other room and read a book, or pick up some stitching and ignore the TV.

But I do LOVE halftime.

Give me a marching band and I am a happy girl.  Halftimes and parades...I love them both!  Yesterday I stopped by the K-State marching band's Friday rehearsal - their last before today's game.  I climbed up to the top of the bleachers and sat in the afternoon sun, watching and listening. Although I was in marching band in high school, it was never a passion.  That I don't know right from left was problematic.  The camaraderie was fun, but that's about it.  Now, my father was a band director for many years.  (He became high school principal and later, assistant superintendent of the school system, and so I never got to enjoy him as a teacher, although three of my siblings did.)  It was those years when I accompanied his bands to football games and parades, that I really learned to appreciate good marching bands.

A good marching band comes about by practice, practice, practice.  Repetition, repetition, repetition.  And that's what the K-State band did yesterday.  But, they are good!  There was one incident, involving a sousaphone player.  I didn't catch the actual happening, but I saw him walking to the sidelines holding his nose with one hand, and his broken sousaphone in the other.  A few moments later, the K-State director announced into his speaker thing (in my day, a few decades ago, it was a megaphone, but now it is very small and not handheld, and there were four people wearing these things, so I had a difficult time comprehending who was talking at any given time - the director down on the field, the assistant director up top with me, or one of the drum majors?) , that "PERCUSSION AND SOUSAPHONES HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY!!  NO ONE STEPS IN FRONT OF THE PERCUSSION OR SOUSAPHONES!  WE HAVE A PLAYER WITH A BROKEN NOSE AND A BROKEN SOUSAPHONE BECAUSE SOMEONE RAN ITO HIM!!!"

And sure enough, there were students on the sidelines trying to rig up the sousaphone with zip ties and white athletic tape.  (It did not work.)

Today is Band Day, which means K-State hosts high school bands from around the state, and this means that all the bands perform in a pregame parade, and again at halftime.  College Boy Graham and I went to view the parade.  I love a parade!

There were large marching bands, and small bands.  Smallest: a seven-man marching band from out in western Kansas.  And there was also a nine-man marching band in the parade.  I really appreciate the effort that their band director and school system put forth to make this day happen for those kids.  How exciting to be able to play with all those marching bands, AND the university marching band, both in a parade and during halftime at a college game!

At some point during the parade I looked up to the sky and exclaimed to Graham, "Lookie there!  A drone!"  And it was!  Graham explained to me that K-State has a drone program, and one of the people he worked with in his internship this summer is part of the drone program as well.  Interesting!  This drone was photographing the parade.  It did give me pause for just one brief moment, how it might feel to see a drone when one is NOT watching a happy parade, but involved in some military skirmish somewhere mid-east of us.  Shudder.

The K-State band marched by, and they are terrific!  Purple twirlers, flags, and poms, and then the woodwinds, rows and rows of brass: trumpets and trombones, and then the sousaphones.  All the brass are silver!  That is, one sousaphone on the end of the last row, which was white.  Heh heh: the guy with the broken sousaphone and broken nose: he got a rookie substitute for the day.

A very good parade!  And I leave you with this quick view of a marching band - I don't know whose, but I appreciate all the steps the players must have made to make this scene possible.  (They would have flunked me in a blink of an eye.)



CHD said...

Yes, the band appreciation is coming to me later in life (didn't have one in high school, perhaps not even college?) But I'm getting it now! The horse is Ohio State last year. The larger show is incredible. They do a different one every week. Eldest's window overlooks the practice field, so she gets to participate vicariously.

Louise Plummer said...

I told my children yesterday that for my 80th birthday, I wanted a marching band. Nothing makes one feel so alive and happy.

I love the Ohio "horse." Wow.

twebsterarmstrong said...

I thought Madeleine was in the band this year.

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