Music's Melody | By: Abbey Gray | | Category: Short Story - Reflections Bookmark and Share

Music's Melody

Musicís Melody

I have always loved music ever since I was old enough to know what music was. Since I love it so much it only makes sense that my name is Melody. Thatís not the real reason even though I like to think it is.

When I was three, I wanted to take piano lessons, but Mom said no. She didnít think I would practice and stick with it. She started me on the classic violin when I was four. I didnít really like to practice so I would tape myself practicing and then play the tape to make Mom think I was practicing.

I have always wanted to be in band. The school wouldnít let us join band until we were in fifth grade. When they brought all the instruments for us to try, I only wanted to try the flute. As I look back, I kind of wish I had tried the trombone or French horn also.

In sixth grade we actually had band class. The band teacher was named Mr. Dennison and we all loved him. He would say funny things that would make us laugh. Mr. Dennison could play all the instruments. We also had an assistant director named Mr. Langdon. We all started calling him Mr. Sure after the Sure deodorant commercial, since he would direct with his arms high up in the air.

Because Mr. Dennison had left at the end of the sixth grade, Mr. Vertal came in. He was younger then Mr. Dennison and none of the kids liked him.

Since we were in seventh grade we were allowed to go and spend one day traveling around to all the elementary schools and play songs for them. I really enjoyed going to all the schools and playing. That was the only good part about seventh grade band.

Also when I was in seventh grade, Mom and Dad finally agreed to let me take piano lessons. I had to learn how to read bass clef. My best song over all was Do You Hear What I Hear? I only played piano for three years. When we moved my sophomore year of high school, band started to take up all my time and we couldnít find a piano teacher.

Mr. Nicholas was the band director for eighth grade.He handed us out practice cards and we were supposed to record how long we practiced every day. It was supposed to be on our own time. Since I was busy with baby-sitting, homework and piano lessons, Mom just said to write down how long we practiced each song during band and then my outside lessons. As it turned out I was the kid who turned in the most minutes of practice.

In concert band we tried out for chair placements. I was next to last, but I was never last chair. We could challenge people throughout the year, to see if we could get a higher chair. The first chair flute had been first chair since she was in fifth grade so no one ever wanted to challenge her. The highest chair I ever got was last chair, first flute. That meant I would get to play the melody and the upper octave.

Mr. Kittle was my high school band teacher. He said the band would start practicing at the beginning of August and then go to band camp the week before school started. This was going to be a whole new experience for me.

That year the theme of the half time show was going to be songs by The Beach Boys. I almost fainted when Mr. Kittle told us there were going to be 24 sets in our half time show.

We went to band camp at Rio Grande College. Every morning, we had to get up at 5:30am and practice fundamental marching. After breakfast, we had to be back at our assigned field by 9:30am. From 9:30am to 12:30pm we added more sets to the ones we had already learned plus pre-game. After lunch, we had full band practice and then sectionals. When sectionals were done it was time to memorize our music. We were not allowed to use lyres in the marching band contests. The flutes didnít have lyres anyway so we had to memorize all the music in marching band. We memorize it and then played it for Mr. Kittle and he would say whether we passed or not. The first songs we had to memorize were The Fight Song and The Star Spangled Banner since those were the two songs we would play the most. After the first year I could pass those two songs before we went to band camp.

At 6:00pm we went back out to the field and started working on the entire show or as far as we had made it that day. We marched till 9:00pm and then did whatever activity was scheduled for that night.

The Beach Boys show was going to be our contest show also. We went to four marching contests each year. There were certain rules we had to follow at the contests. No matter what happened you were supposed to keep right on marching. If a judge was in your way you mowed him over. Another rule was when you were standing at attention you do not move under any circumstances. The highest we ever placed was third.

Marching band did not practice during the school day. In band class, we worked on concert band music. Marching band practice was after school on Monday and Wednesday from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. Tuesday and Thursday mornings we had to be at school by 7:00am to practice marching band music.

If a certain section had memorized and passed all of their music then they would get to wear silver braids on the coat at the football game. My junior year the flutes got silver braids almost every week.

During our last marching band concert, Mr. Kittle gave the other girl and me special recognition. We were not officers or anything, but we always had a very positive attitude and said encouraging or nice things to say the other band members.

My senior year it was the marching bands turn to go on a trip. We had an orange sale to help raise money for it. We had the fruit sale every year. I even sold oranges when I didnít have toÖjust to add some extra money to the band fund.

We went to Toronto, Canada. While we were there we went to a music clinic, the Parliament building, The Center and Casa Loma, which was a medieval castle. We got to play there. We also went to two musical productions: Les Miserables and The Phantom of The Opera. We went to Niagara Falls the last day.

We always marched in at least four parades during the year. The Millersport Corn Festival, Homecoming, Fourth of July and Memorial Day. The Fourth of July Parade was the last parade the seniors were allowed to march in. I was the only senior who had come back to march.

There were more people in concert band then in marching band. We also had contests in concert band. Two years in a row we had gotten an excellent rating at the regionals so we got to compete at state. Our first year competing at state, we got a good rating, but not an excellent one. The second time I donít know what we did, but we got only a fair rating.

My sophomore year it was the concert bands turn to go on a trip. We went to Chicago. We went to a lot of music clinics, the hologram museum, the radio technology building and saw the play Sunset Boulevard. We also went on a dinner cruise around the bay.

In pep band, there were only about twelve or fifteen people. The pep band played at the home basketball games.

At the end of the year there was always a music banquet where they gave out special awards. All year we earned points for how many band activities we had participated in. The first year I made it to level four and received two certificates, a music letter and a pin. The second year I was up to level seven and received two more pins. Since we had moved after my freshman year, I had fewer points than the rest of the people who had been there since their freshman year. However, I found out I had just made the cut for level eight my senior year. There were only nine levels. I was up with the rest of the seniors after only three years. Level nine were the people who had over 1,000 points. I would have been up there had I been there all four years.


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