My Everything

Michelle - Austin, Texas
Entered on April 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I am in the group of people often referred to as ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds.’ Stereotyping makes us the outcasts, the losers, and the rejects of the high school experience. It is because of this that so many people miss out on the one thing I believe everybody should experience at least once in their life; band.

Earlier today my band director asked our class “What is band to you? Why are you here?” I knew my reply instantly, even going so far as to whisper it quietly to myself. Diligently he went through everyone’s raised hands, and while I agreed with all of them no one appeared to be of the same mindset as me.

“Friends” One trumpet said. Every year the band loses it’s seniors and gains new freshmen in an endless and ceaseless cycle of change. Every year the upperclassmen bemoan the freshmen, who then struggle to find where they fit in. This too holds true for band, but never for long. Unlike the rest of the school, each grade isolated from the others, band forces these warring classes to get along and make peace with one another. The invisible lines of segregation disappear and only people are left, pulled together by a shared passion, a common bond, the same calling. Many new friendships are forged every year all year long. I myself have made three new friends within the last month; two freshmen and one sophomore. Likewise I have kept contact with many previous seniors, now off exploring a new chapter in their lives.

“Life experiences. Like responsibility, prioritizing, and loss.” Said a french horn. Responsibility can be counted in more ways than one. For the drum majors and section leaders it’s about making sure the rest of the band learns everything they need to so as to get the most out of the whole band experience that they can. For the rest of the ‘normal’ band kids, it is about getting to rehearsal on time and remembering to memorize their music or get a particularly hard run perfected. Prioritizing. The great decision between video games and practicing for the upcoming concert or competition. Between being lazy and procrastinating and hard work; between skipping out on a mandatory sectional, a rehearsal with only a certain instrument, or hanging out with your friends. Loss. My band lost a very dear trumpet player two years ago in a car accident right before a football game. We were completely devastated. He was also the first death that actually affected my life; that impacted my daily routine. Without my band, yes my band, there to mourn with me, make me smile through the pain, and help me get through everything I don’t know if I could have made it and kept my sanity.

And finally when my band director had begun to ask for any last opinions, a hand rose and voiced my thoughts aloud.

“Band is everything to me. I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it.”