i remember going to band camp the month before i started my freshman year. it was a new thing. our band director, Pattycake, had decided to try it out. and we were the guinea pigs. not only was it a blast...but we learned. we learned our music. we learned tips and tricks from the upper classmen. because we all talked. there was no you are a freshman and i am a senior. we were all friends. we were a team. a band.
i remember the seniors yelling at us at night to go to sleep. we were staying up way too late and would be tired in the morning. us? nahhhh. we were fine. and up before them. i remember that was the summer that a friend had died. a popular senior that all the girls looked up to pulled us all out in front of the main barracks and we sat there and held hands and prayed. because that is what we did back then. we prayed. outloud and in public. we, as a band, did it before every competition, every friday night football game halftime, every everything. some called us the praying band. and made fun of that. even when they threatened to not let us march if we prayed...you know what we did...we kept on! we held hands in our big huge band circle and we prayed.
marching practice was hard. and Pattycake was even harder. she was mean, and strict, and big G we were all scared to death of her. by heavens, if you were on that marching field and you were standing in ants...you had better be still. and get bit. because you were NOT to move at the position of attention. swarm of killer bees?? nope. be still my little band nerd. this too shall pass. we did it one hundred if not a thousand times. in the sun. outside. and it was hot. but there was always yellow gatorade. and not the in the bottle kind. the powder mix. that was distributed into huge ice chests. and yes there was usually grass in it. we did not care. it was hot. and we were thirsty. you learned to love that flavor. and even now when i drink it, i reminisce. the contests were awesome. we scored I's at every one i can remember...except one. we did not want plain vanilla, we wanted rocky road, or chocolate, or some other flavor. we did not want to be blocks with smiley faces on them. we wanted to be unique. and special. and we were.
we got standing ovations at our concerts. and our christmas encore sounded like a stadium. we had the 'signature' song. and we loved to hate it. but we loved it. we rocked it. and we knew we did. and we would groan when they would applaud, but secretly could not wait to play it again. and we sat there in our santa hats and played our hearts out.
we were awesome. in a ton of ways. we were still one of very few military marching bands. there were not many then. and i am not sure how many now. we stretched, at one point, from 20 yard to 20 yard line. we were huge, and loud, and in step. because if you were not, you were afraid. you knew you would get chastised. and no one wanted that. i remember our drum majors. they were like gods. with their whistles. and white cuffs that kept rhythm for us. we listened to them. and respected them.
one year we performed the UT fight song and the Aggie fight song in one routine. it was so great to hear the crowd first gasp because we were doing it and to hear the roar for each school song. we even performed it on Aggie soil. which was totally awesome.
there are so many more stories from this period in my life. i loved it and i hated it. and i could go on and on. but i will not. the reason all of this is coming up is that tonight my 6th grader had her spring concert. it was so strange to hear the high school band play and think back to our time. Pattycake time. a time that came to an end not very long after we left i believe. to me it signaled a great era coming to an end. and there are not many bands around like that anymore. we had heart. and we loved what we did. we believed in it. even now looking back i think of how hard it was. but it was so worth it. because of her. because of the one that made our lives so freaking miserable every marching season. she expected the best. because she knew we could give it. and we did. with blood, sweat, tears, and yellow gatorade in the mix. there was nothing worse than letting her down. and we all tried our best to not let that happen. she commanded our attention when she got on the podium. something i did not see happen tonight. she did not have to tell us to be quiet. we just got that way. you could have your back turned and hear her take the podium. and you knew to hush it up. we respected the other bands playing and were quiet and listened. i did not see that happen tonight either. we were respectful, and quiet, and always ALWAYS on our best behavior. for her. for us. for the band. we were a part of something special. and we did not want to tarnish it by being rude. i was very disappointed in the kids tonight. they were loud. and did not act the way our old band acted. i know times are changing and directors change. and it may be their way. but our way was the Pattycake way. and big G and whether it made you or broke you, it made a lasting impression. one that stays with a lot of us even now into our 30's.
i wonder if they still pray. or if school and pressure and politics have gotten the best of them? i hope they do. it was something that was such an integral part of us. whether or not it was accepted. we did it. and even those that were not religious still bowed their heads and held hands.
to the Pattycake era. it left a mark on all of us that were blessed to be a part of it.
**thanks to rocketfan86 on youtube for the videos. i wish we had 1993 and 1994 too.