Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Surviving Band Camp

(Written August 3)

I spent almost all of last week at marching band camp. People told me it was a ton of hard work and commitment and that I didn't know what I was getting into. They were right. But I loved it!

My favorite part of marching band are the two band directors. They are both lovely Christian ladies with a vast knowledge of music and an amazing sense of humor. One is all sunshine and rainbows; the other is lively and very dynamic. It's been a joy to know them both.

One of them in particular gives amazing advice and encouragement. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her:

"The word can't is illegal in this band room."

"Don't lie to me. You know where liars go-- that's right, straight to Washington D.C."

"What have I said about crying over a boy, dear? Don't waste your tears over one-- they make more of them every day."

My school's marching band is a little different from most. Like most bands, we're a family. (New "family trees" are actually drawn up every year.) But from what I've seen we're given a loser reign than most bands because our directors know that a little trust goes a long way. We also do things a little differently.

When someone messes up, instead of being scolded, everyone in the room drops what they're doing and applauds that person. The poor soul is usually so embarrassed that they never make the same mistake twice.

"Story Time": This is the directors' unique way of making announcements during band camp. At the end of practice, the head director yells "Story Time! Gather round!" The entire band huddles around the drum major's platform. Some sit cross-legged. Some stand. Some lean on others. We all look up at the head director with bright eyes. It went something like this:

"Once upon a time there lived a beautiful band director. She had an evil stepsister named Mrs. B--" The other band director rolled her eyes. "And the beautiful band director had a dream-- She dreamed that the entire band would practice Karn Evil 9 tonight and memorize it so we could run through the drill tomorrow." (Groans from the band.) "She also dreamed that magical elves from a faraway land would bring her band popsicles--" (Cheers from the band) "--and that the band would all meet back here at ten till eleven. Seniors, you can go ahead."

Well this post had a point to it, but I can't even remember what it was... Oh, yes. So here's some tips on surviving if you're going to band camp any time soon. :D

1. Water. I don't care if you're not thirsty yet. Drink it. All of it. Whenever you can. You'll thank me later.

2. Mark your music. No one is going to remember all the positions for the field show the first time you're set on the field. Make note of it in your flip folder. Be sure to write down where you're standing, for how long, who is next to you, and where you move to next. Don't forget to write in the holds, either.

3. Sunscreen. Wear it. You don't burn? You will. The sun's harmful rays damage your skin before it turns red or tans. Sunburn just means it's too late. It's not worth the risk. You're going to be on the field for 4+ hours at a time.

4. Aloe vera. Oh, you didn't take my advice when I told you to wear sunscreen? Most people didn't. :) Just put something with aloe in it on the burned places overnight. It helps.

5.  PLEASE wear tennis shoes. No one wants to trip over your lost flipflop while marching. We're not allowed to look down when we're at attention! And marching backwards in open-toed shoes?
Impossible. Or boots? You'll die of heat stroke.

6. How to get turf out of your shoes aside from lighting them on fire:
  • You can't.
  • It's never coming out.
  • It's not humanly possible.
  • It's there forever.
  • End of story.
7. Understand that when a section leader yells that he will take out the Achilles tendon of anyone not marching backward on their toes, he is (probably) joking. I still wouldn't take any chances, if I were you. Marching on your toes it is!

8. Know when Senior Prank Day is. Every high school band camp has one. Watch out for it. I would avoid wearing white clothing, or bringing anything that is important to you to camp that day.

9. The seniors are never to be trusted. They're like little kids during band camp:  full of mischief and pranks. Lowerclassmen, watch out!

10. And most importantly: "One more time" never actually means "one more time". One more time actually means "We gonna keep doin' this until all y'all get this perfect", which can take anywhere from five more times to fifteen. Just a heads up. :)


  1. Marching band seems like SO much fun! I love this post:-)

    1. It really is! :D Thanks for commenting.

  2. hehehehehe I was laughing so hard during this post because I enjoyed it so much! =D
    Being a Percussionist Senior we have had our fair share of experiances and memories... ah yes senior prank day.. hehehe hehehehe ahhahahahahaha sorry just remembering what we did and will be doing. Ok so funny band story involving prank day, ok so we took our conductors phone (she's really strict) and put it at the back of the band room under the crash symbol.. so it' s rehearsal as usual and then we've engineered with another teacher friend who is a friend of our conductors to call her at a certain time that we know will be a pp part of the peice. MWHAHHA so.. we're all playing away us seniors holding in mirth, and then we get to the part and then the phone goes off.. really loudly.. cause we put it on loud and it's 'Iiiiiiiiiiii'm Hoooked on a feeeeeelinggggggggg.. I'm hiiiiiigh on believinggggggg that your in love with meeeeeeeeeeeeeee" and it's vibrating under the cymbal and we're by this point cackling with laughter as the conductor goes "Oh ____ (insert word here) and starts rumaging in her handbag by this point she's laughing too as she's realised what happend as the principal Oboe (my friend Rhoda) calmly walks up to her and hands her the phone going "Nice ringtone Triney" (our nickname for her as her full name is Katrina) and she goes "you've embarrassed me so much." seniors *explode with laughter and run out of the room in tears whilst the rest of the band is both scared and amused* Hopefully that makes sense I was laughing whilst typing it. xD Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh my goodness I was laughing so much during your comment! I enjoyed that so much. That is an amazing prank to pull. I'll have to remember that when my senior year comes around!
      This year our seniors were very persistent. They snuck into the school late at night and taped the door so no one could see the light inside. All instruments left unattended were taken out of their cases, cellophane-wrapped, put back in their cases, and then the cases were wrapped in cellophane. Bubble wrap carpeted the floor, as did balloons, streamers, and confetti. They created a maze using stacked chairs and black tarp, and cut small holes in it. To get from one side of the band room to the other, you had to go through the maze while seniors stood behind the tarps and shot glitter, silly string, and spray paint at you through the holes. There was a water battle at the end of the day as we were getting on the buses to leave.
      At random times throughout the day one of them would blow a whistle and call out a dance move, and all the seniors jumped out and did it. They also rigged the iPod that we were using to practice our drills. Instead of playing Karn Evil 9, the speakers started blaring Uptown Funk and everyone broke out in dance and song.
      The best prank of all, I think, was the one we were all in on. The band director was counting us off to practice the field show. "--five, six, seven, eight AND one--" Instead of marching, we all dropped to the ground and pretended to sleep. Mrs. W almost fell off the drum major's podium she was laughing so hard!

    2. I'm laughing so hard at the last one oh my goodness!! We have to try that!!! XD

  3. Marching band sounds like a lot of fun! Lovely blog!

  4. Haha, wow. This was interesting.
    Love those quotes!

    -T. x

  5. I wish I had the opportunity to do something like this in the UK

    1. That's too bad. I wish you did, too! :D

  6. Thank you for the tips even though I'll probably never go to a marching band camp as I can't play a single instrument heh I would love to learn but with school and everything I don' think I have time for music lessons as well. A funny post really! :) xxx


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Rebecca :)