Monday, July 13, 2015

Marching Band

It was a normal Saturday night here at Kate's apartment in Minneapolis. I was reading a bit while Kate read Alexandra her bedtime story.  Glancing out the window, I saw what looked to be a marching band filing into the normally-empty-on-weekends parking lot across the street.  I read for a bit more, then my curiosity got the best of me, and I went outside and across the street to see what was going on.

Turns out there was a big competition at the U of M stadium just under a mile away, and they were there for warm-ups.  I thought for about three seconds, then went back inside to see if Alexandra wanted to come outside and watch them for a bit.  Something to delay bedtime?  She was in!

Back outside we went.  There were about 150 young people in the lot, moving in an impressive display of synchronization.  All horns - trumpets, mellophones, tubas and euphoniums (I learned something, I didn't know there were mellophones...).  They didn't play much, but what a sound when they did!  The band is based in California, called the Blue Devils.  The students, ages 15 to 21, come from all around the country.  They start their summer in early May with 9 to 9 practices (?! No wonder they're good!), and end just before school begins.

I thought Alexandra would get bored with the rehearsal, but she loved it.  Her eyes sparkled, she was full of questions, loved the sectionals with the sound of the higher toned trumpets drifting across the lot in counterpoint to the bass euphoniums in front of us. The band members responded well to their audience of two, and came over to talk with her. She got shy, wouldn't talk to the nice conductor (the conductors are also students; he is studying accounting at a university in south Florida) who offered to let her touch the white feathers on his hat AND the sequins on his sleeve, but rather just looked at him with wide, wondering eyes.

They were only there for about 45 minutes; we stood and waved and wished them luck as they filed out.  As I looked down at Alexandra's shining face, I was glad I had indulged my curiosity bump - I would have been sorry to miss this glimpse into the lives of the members of a touring marching band. (Note to self:  keep paying attention to what's going on across the street!)

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