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Experience Gaining

Experience Gaining An experience that shall never escape me is my first week of marching band camp in ninth grade. Held at my high school of the time, this two-week journey will fill your soul with glorious notes and alert your senses to the feeling of music. Everywhere you place yourself for those two weeks at camp, no matter where, you cannot get away from the essence of song and rhythm. Whether youre sitting in the heated band room with humidity that resembles walking through an ocean or on break for fifthteen minutes smoking harsh cigarettes fast enough to also get a refreshing drink of water that cools and moisturizes a heat-smacked throat, the music is everywhere, and everything is in some way associated to the music, even the pitchers mound of the baseball field as it kicked up sand as we traversed across it during practice. Upon entering the school which reminds one of an ancient Greek temple with its cracked pillars, but still beautiful structure, the all too familiar scent of wet paint rushes into your nose as you gaze around to look at the dusty floor and bare walls that will become covered in student propaganda like some silly mosaic.

As you climb the chipped marble staircase, stray notes begin to stimulate your ears like that first hint in the morning that you mother is cooking breakfast. On the oven-like fourth floor in the band room, there are about seventy-five bustling teens playing instruments, talking, and laughing into a unique whirlpool of music that you can feel vibrating your very soul. Each different point of focus in that room has its own very definite individuality and flavor, and you can see that just by standing in the doorway! Mr. Lutz, the band instructor, is a very eccentric, short, balding man who has that wide spaced rumbling in his voice like a bullfrog. Very serious and to the point, he is also on of the nicest people that one could meet. When the members first get their music, which is always somewhat challenging, there is, at first, a unified look of confusion around the room so much that you can almost taste the uneasiness.

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When we begin playing, the music sounds almost nothing like its supposed to. Sort of like everybodys on the right page, but a different part of it. After a while, though, everyone starts to get things and the music starts streaming from many different parts into one fine, melodic line. By the end of the first week, you could almost see the Disney movie “Aladdin” as we played “A Whole New World.” Now is the time to take all that you have learned in the band room and drag it kicking and screaming out into the unbearable August heat to learn the field routine. The grass of our lumpy football field / baseball field is always freshly mowed and that sweet smell seems to hang stagnant in the air, along with the clippings on your shoes.

On the home side of the field only, there are four rickety bleachers upon which we precariously place our cases and other things that we bring along with us like sun block and mini-coolers of water. Despite all this royal treatment, we still must sum up our courage and infiltrate the battlefield; some veteran mixed in along with the fresh meat. At the start, this consisted of us being placed in spots on the football field and being treated like pawns on an augmented chessboard, pikes (instruments) in hand. Once we got the gist of where we were supposed to move, it was then time to do this while playing. Each step we take represents a beat in the music, so if done right, we has quite the impressive effect of resembling a millipede that breaks apart and reforms at the will of the drum major. Friday of the last week is when we have our first show for our parents and friends. Scared, nervous, tense, anxious, are words that cannot even begin to describe the feeling of your first show in front of a crowd of people.

Of course you dont want to perform, but deep down inside you have this burning desire to show everyone what two weeks of sweating hard work can amount to. You really dont realize actually how many people can fill up four bleachers until its too late. So here we are marching out into the field in single file and on step like cartoon ants. My parents, some of my closest friends, and about two hundred other total strangers are waiting for us to put on a show for them. I march out to my space on the home side hash-mark of the twenty yard-line and prepare for my destiny the way some death-row inmates prepare for that day.

I prayed that I would have total usage of my legs when the show started because standing there, I felt as thought they were cemented to the ground. Once the show started though, the strangest feeling came over me like I didnt even have to remember the routine; I just knew it through and through, which cascaded me with a tidal wave of pride that I have never experienced before. Band camp has been one of the most significant parts of my entire life. If you put your heart and soul into something that requires an extremely high level of uncomfortability for two weeks from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., you might understand what Im speaking of. It gives you the opportunity to see what hard work, cooperation, and talent can do when used effectively, which, quite frankly, is somewhat lacking in the world today.


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