The Glimpse

Marching band is a staff of its personal.

You know that classic significant faculty movie scene in which the cafeteria is damaged down into cliques? The jocks, the nerds, the goths, the band geeks?

I can not speak to the other cliques, but within just marching band there are further more distinctions. Every single portion has a track record based mostly loosely on the identity kinds drawn to sure instruments and the components they perform on the industry.

Trumpets commonly own the melody, so the portion draws in men and women who want to be the center of interest, at least musically.

The perfectionist woodwinds — piccolos, flutes, clarinets and saxophones — are invariably drowned out by the brass area, meaning their dedication to musicianship doesn’t depend on recognition. (They also may be the most very likely to disagree with these categorizations, but blanket stereotypes are by no means rather correct in the motion pictures possibly.)

Colour guard is flashy, and the drum line is most apt to steal the show with solos. Each groups depend as the “awesome little ones,” to the extent that everyone in marching band can be awesome. (The 2002 typical “Drumline,” starring Nick Cannon, and countless numbers of TikTok movies testify to this.)

Then there are the tubas.

Tubas participate in the bass line. They’re vital but generally relegated to the background. They tend to be fairly chill, perhaps since no a single actually chooses to participate in tuba it’s a hefty instrument that sounds bizarre and appears goofy. Circumstance is what helps make a tubist.

At minimum which is how I, one of 4,735 freshmen who enrolled at U.C.L.A. in the tumble of 2008, grew to become a tuba participant.

From the day I commenced enjoying euphonium in 5th quality through my senior 12 months of significant college, music and band had been the foundation of my social life. Nonetheless, I wasn’t certain if that would be the very best way to transition from a smaller, Catholic all-ladies school to U.C.L.A. which, by comparison, has tens of hundreds of learners. I did not formally make your mind up to join right up until the tail conclusion of the summer before my freshman 12 months, when I obtained a recruitment postcard created by a Tuba Woman.

There were 26 tubas even though I was in band. But the Tuba Girls, a foursome who ended up two many years forward of me, had been a intense unit who had created a mini-sisterhood inside a rather masculine portion.

Simply because of them I joined the marching band sorority (indeed, it’s a detail) and since of them I trapped with band when I got discouraged. For the reason that of them I met the folks who’ve remained my closest close friends. And right before all that, they had been the kinds who welcomed me to band camp my freshman year, and who assisted train me how to march carrying 40 lbs . of metallic. They have been saints about it way too for the reason that, and I cannot strain this adequate, I wasn’t pretty great at it.

Though I’d been actively playing brass devices for years, tuba sections are written in bass clef I’d only at any time browse treble clef. Worse, I was a terrible marcher. I have negative depth notion, a unique lack of coordination and an lack of ability to multitask — a disastrous mixture when you require to remember dozens of series of actions (16 techniques backward, 12 across, 4 large techniques forward) though actively playing tunes, averting other individuals in your path and not remaining distracted by a crowd. I extremely rapidly turned an alternate my initial 12 months, and all over again my next 12 months.

Nonetheless, marching band was safe haven, a microcosm of the pupil human body that I could reasonably navigate. It was where I figured out how to be a young adult.

The days could be very long. There was often a ton of yelling. Blunders during displays weren’t brushed off they had been outlined in element over a loud speaker at the next rehearsal. Someplace on the net there is a video clip of the top half of my tuba falling on to my deal with in the course of a efficiency, and I’ll constantly be grateful to the area chief who shielded me from a general public roasting by our band director.

But I was also exposed to lots of new factors through band, like a lot of tunes I’d never ever listened to just before. There was the ’60s themed halftime exhibit where we all dressed up in tie dye shirts and performed “Age of Aquarius” by The Fifth Dimension, “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, “Hello, I Enjoy You” by The Doorways and “Pinball Wizard” by The Who. We did a jazz-themed exhibit, a “West Facet Story” exhibit, a funk clearly show and a great deal that weren’t as memorable. My preferred, hands down, was the Muse clearly show. (Yeah, soccer is amazing, but have you at any time rocked out to “Knights of Cydonia” in the Rose Bowl?)

These days, my actual link to marching band is limited. I do not participate in tuba any longer, and I haven’t been to a higher education-football match in virtually a ten years.

Even my deep, individual investment decision in U.C.L.A.’s rivalry with the University of Southern California has settled down. Before this summertime, I used some time on enemy territory, at the U.S.C. campus, chatting to the marching band pupils throughout band camp and hanging out with them in the course of a game at the Coliseum. It was incredibly common, however the shade plan was distinct.

Marching band life on in my daily life through the folks I met alongside the way. In just about every town I’ve lived in because graduating from university, marching band individuals have been the main of my buddy team. They’ve been my global journey companions, my roommates and the primary rationale for the bulk of my wedding ceremony journey.

When you’re participating in in the band at a huge game, some section of you appreciates, logically, that no one is there to see you. Sure, the band has admirers, but it typically performs for the duration of breaks from the key sporting attraction. We enjoy for drunk tailgaters while they consume lunch. We conduct the pregame clearly show although sporting activities followers make their way to their seats. The 50 % time exhibit transpires when the Tv networks cut to investigation and lovers wait in food items and restroom lines. Most people really do not stick all around for the postgame clearly show. But that’s O.K. The soccer element never mattered much to me, anyway.

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