My family has a long history with bands. My dad's brother played the clarinet at Jackson, my aunt played the flute in the Fletcher High School band, my sister was first chair flute/piccolo during her tenure with the FHS band, my cousin's daughter performed with the Color Guard and my baby sister was captain of the Color Guard (flag corps) at Fletcher High.
...And then there was me. Singing Senator all the way....until today.
Today was the "Opening of the Beaches Parade" in Jacksonville Beach. (I find that humorous, because the beach is never closed here.) In honor of my father, I marched in the parade today while attempting to play the cymbals.
About a month ago, I asked my band director if I could chaperone and walk along the edge with the band parents. I told him I had never marched in a parade and it was an item on my "bucket list" that I would like to check off. He said he could do better than that. He would let me come to rehearsal and learn to play the cymbals. He assigned a percussionist to me who taught me how to hold them, crash them, swizzle them and even injure myself with them!
Somehow, I pinched the inside of my forearm while trying to play them.
I told the band director I took a trophy home with me!
We practiced in the parking lot at school. It was 85 degrees and we were doing "figure eights" in the parking lot so we could nail our turns during the parade. I had no clue what I was doing, but the students were so helpful. I didn't know any of the commands. I had no idea what "parade rest" meant. We practiced starting and stopping, rolling our feet, marking time, singing/dancing, hand signaling and chanting the words to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" - all while trying to march in formation. I have a much higher regard for band students now. They're an amazing bunch of kids!!
My heartfelt thanks go out to the Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School Marching Band!! Thanks for teaching me the basics and for giving up your playing time in the parade today so I could fulfill a dream. I appreciate you!!
Until next time...