1.15.2007

Music "Monday" (5)

Question:

How does a girl who doesn't particularly care for football end up attending forty-one high school football games (every last regular season game + one very cold and sleety post-season game)?

Answer:

Marching band!

Yes, friends, I was a trombone player in the Stow-Munroe Falls High School Marching Band. If someone randomly shouted "BAND, PARADE REST" in a crowd, my left arm would fling behind my back and my chin would hit my chest and a deep "HUH!" would shoot forth from my lungs. It's nurture and nature; *D* was a band director, my parents met in the elevator on the way up to band practice, and both Marie and Elizabeth were in the fold as well (trumpet players- which is cooler than flute, but maybe not quite so cool as trombone... that's one other thing that I'll never get out of my system: the impulse to trashtalk smaller brass & woodwinds).

Now, marching band is a lot of things, but straightforwardly cool isn't necessarily one of them. Cool in the "uncool is the new cool" manner, yes. Cool in the hierarchy of high school social structures, no. Too much polyester is involved. And gloves. And spats.

But then the sound of snares caught my ear in the Portland Saturday Market when I was in town for General Assembly. Enter the March Fourth Marching Band, alternatively known as The Coolest Marching Band In Existence. They are a troup of punky former band kids who are as schooled in the Ramones as John Philip Sousa. The whole crowd was grooving to cadences, cheering on their burlesque majorettes, and marveling at the gracefulness of their resident stilt-walker. Clearly, the best way to experience the band is live, but you can get a taste of their hipster half-time show with a few free downloads here. We have the CD (they had me at BAND, aTEnHUT!), which is loads of fun - especially on Friday nights in the fall.

Marching band is in my blood - maybe even deeper, somewhere nestled next to my very soul. It's music and family and friends all wrapped up into one big party. M4MB takes me back to all that sweat and glory, and whether it's straightforwardly cool or about-faced-ly cool, I love it.

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