Marching Band Blues

It’s December 2nd.  The 12th month of the year.  I have to keep telling myself that time will slow down just for a minute and I can freeze that moment.  The Christmas season is here and with it the days of excitement for the Daughter.

Being a first-time mom, I made a very rookie mistake yesterday.  I told her that we were going to go to the Christmas parade so that meant that all night last night and even through church this morning, she kept asking when it was time to go to the parade.  Was it time to go to Falmouth yet?  Was it time to go to the parade now?  I hope we get to see Rudolph at the parade.  I need to have my elf hat.  I want to go to the parade right now.  Can we leave for the parade?  Is this the right road to Falmouth?  [After a radio commercial] We are late for the parade, they just talked about it on the radio.

Waiting for the Parade

Waiting for the Parade

For twenty minutes, this was the conversation as we drove to the parade.  I love parades.  I always have.  The Falmouth Christmas parade is the largest Christmas parade in Southeastern Massachusetts and every year, it’s a fun way to kick off the Christmas season.

Back in high school, I was a band geek.  Marching in the Christmas parade was always a fun time.  Some years it was cold, some years it was warm, every year, we had fun.  I never fully appreciated the work that went into making the band that I was a part of as fantastic as it was.  As I watched the high school band, now the start of the parade not just before Santa like we used to be, I was sad.

The band I remember being a part of was full of Pride.  I wish I could remember the little chant we used to do at band camp but it really just was about having pride.  We marched in straight lines.  We wore those crazy polyester uniforms with the round hats with our “chickens” on top, you know the uniforms with the white stripe down the leg and the white shoes so that you almost instantly spot the person who was out of step (at least that’s what we were told – maybe it was just us OCD people noticed it).  We played most of the parade.  We didn’t just march to the cadence of our kick-ass drum line.  We memorized one or two songs, Christmas songs.  We had a color guard and a dance team who were awesome.  Rifles, flags, dancing, they added to the show just as much as the music.


Today, when the band came up, they weren’t in uniform.  They were in the rain coats.  They were all wearing different shoes.  No one had on uniform hats.  No one was lined up.  It was just kind of like a bunch of kids walking with instruments.   They didn’t play (at least not within my ear shot) and their cadence was just keeping time, a far cry from the complicated cadences that our band use to march to. I know that budget cuts and the change to the school day/extra-curricular activities changed how band is run but it still made me sad.  I missed the band.  We were good (if I may toot my own horn, so to speak).

Then as I was driving home, I realized how much work went into that.  The Band Parents who worked to make sure we had the uniforms.  The teachers we had over the years to help us be musicians(even if it were amateur ones in most cases).  Our parents who drove us to band practice, who drove us to music lessons, who paid for our instruments, who cheered for us in the stands even if they couldn’t really tell what formation we were making on the field.  All of that work really made a difference and today I just wanted to say thank you to them all for their work.

I hope that people realize how important things like music programs in schools are.  How that bit of pride for a kid who takes part in a marching band can sometimes be a very amazing thing for a kid who doesn’t have much else in life.  I hope that someday the band gets its awesome back.  Someday, I’m sure it will.


Filed under Culture, Family Activities, Random Thoughts

3 responses to “Marching Band Blues

  1. It is so very sad to hear that such important classes like music class keep getting subject to budget cuts. Our freedom to be creative individuals is what makes America unique, but states just keep cutting away at these creative school programs. I’m glad you had a good time at the parade 🙂

  2. Ricky

    Great post! I remember those days- they expected a lot out of us, and in most cases we gave it! A good marching band is a thing to behold! I liked hearing about your daughter’s excitement for the parade! Merry Christmas!

    • ClewisWrites

      She did love it! She still tells people we see (now almost four days later) that she went to the “Falmouth Christmas Parade.” Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂

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