Friday, November 02, 2007

Yee-haw! It's Cary Band Day!

Okay, when I was growing up, I didn't like cowboy flicks. I am a girl after all. But I always found them kind of... boring? I mean, the themes aren't really the kind which appeal to young girls--maybe young boys but mostly I think they're geared for men. Nothing wrong with that.

But my roommate loves Westerns so we see 'em once in a while; more to the point, I've been able to watch a few and just... enjoyed them more. Especially the Cowboys, which my dad tells me he watched when he was young, and he remembered seeing it in the theater. (I think he had just enlisted then.)

It has a really well-known theme--composed by John Williams. He's a well-known composer... Star Wars, Jaws, E.T., Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Harry Potter 1-3 and way more films I can't even think of off-hand. I got to play the song in high school when I was the Triangle Wind Ensemble, a group of non-professional performers, who were very very talented and dedicated to their instrument. Many were band directors, some played as a hobby. But having fully matured on their instruments, playing with them was not at all like playing with high school or even college bands--it was actually fun!! Which I always thought playing music should be. We had a few very dynamic conductors in that band, too. I also played the song in college. It's a very upbeat theme... a few clarinet solos (gotta love that!) When I played it in college I got to play the solos actually. They were, in fact, some of the last licks I played on my clarinet before I sold it.

Magnificent Seven is another film with a well-known theme. Well-known to me anyway; my high school band used the music as their half-time show when I was in 8th grade. Yeah... so I didn't get to play it. But I lived pretty close to the high school so I got to listen to it after school several days a week as they practiced. I couldn't wait to be in marching band. And in fact, marching band really defines my high school career. It takes up a lot of time, you know... practicing at least 3 days a week after school for a few hours, plus every other Friday night or so for a home game, not to mention traveling every weekend to a competition!

And competition season ended the first weekend in November... on Cary Band Day. Yes, you got it, I went to Cary High School--this was an issue of pride while I was in HS, and even in college (hey, aren't they the ones with the really good marching band!?) The Cary Band Day competition was huge. Most band competitions would get 10-20 bands, but CBD would consistently have over 30, sometimes over 40 bands registering!! It was also exceptional because it maintained a traditional type of competition--the parade competition. Most competitions nowadays are only field show, but one of the major functions of a marching band (let's face it!) is marching in parades (for Christmas, homecoming, etc) and CBD kept hosting the parade competition in the morning, and the field show competition in the afternoon/evening.

In fact, at one point there were so many bands that they had to adjust the field show timings and put things out of order so bands could march in both, if they had to go early in the morning. There were two separate awards ceremonies because so many bands were participating. There were six classes (normally there are 3, or 4... or at some big competitions 5...) because there were so many bands, and what was astonishing to me was how many not just little bands but how many big bands came!

The program would sometimes last until 10pm or even 11pm (on time!) and going over the allotted time in set-up/tear-down was a major penalty because keeping schedule was so crucial. Learned a bit about discipline doing that, I guess.

Anyway, Cary Band Day is this weekend--it is the 49th annual!! I love the season of fall, I have so many great memories of it from being in band, traveling on weekends. It's sort of an "alumni" thing to go back and watch, I've been back every year since I've graduated, and I might stop by again this year, too, just to see. In my opinion, the Cary Band has actually gone downhill quite a bit... in all respects. In decorum, in performance etiquette, in performance quality and difficulty... they're just another marching band, now.

But I'm glad to see they have 26 bands registered already in five classes. Another thing to note--we would have to go into exhibition twice that day, for the two awards ceremonies (so smaller bands could go on home! and too many bands for one awards ceremony!) We also had to march the parade, of course... wrapping it up at the end.

And of course it was a long parade. One special thing about us though, until we got a new and rather more apathetic band director, is we would play the entire route. We would only take short rests while marching, but playing most of the time, just for all the people the whole length who turned out to watch. And then volunteer to help keep things running, and play again in the afternoon, and once more a show in the evening.

The cool weather we finally are having (this year's summer lasted extraordinarily long and it's finally starting to drop into the 40's and 30's (F) at night) really makes me remember. It's in the air. If I'd been driving through Cary I know I would have seen the banners that are draped around town the week before. Kind of exciting. :-)

So here's a memory I'm sharing with the world...

I'd like to put some of the pictures up, but I can't find a way to do that right now. I might have to come back and add some. Anyway... thanks for reading!

(Number One, Sir!)


iBO said...

my favs are Tombstone and The good, the bad and the ugly...

Phylicia said...

You write very well.