Over the four years of my high school career, one activity has meant more to me than any other single thing I’ve seen, done, or attempted. One thing has taught me more than I could imagine and opened my eyes to a world that was previously hidden from me; it has broadened my horizons, allowed me to experience that of which most young adults my age cannot even imagine, and allowed me to embrace my passion on levels I had never before conceived, and that one thing was marching band.
No, seriously. You know, kids, instruments, feathers on their hats? That.
The first day of band camp my freshman year, I stepped timidly into the cavernous band room, clutching my clarinet case in one hand and a jug of water in the other. I had NO idea what I’d gotten myself into. Hours and hours of painstaking physical effort in the unforgiving Florida sun, a competition in Seminole, a weekend in Atlanta, and a week up in Indianapolis for the National Championships were the highlights of my freshman year. No other group in the school traveled like we did, and no other organization got to represent Cypress Creek on a national level
Band is more than an "extracurricular." Band is where you spend every day after school, weekends, and most holidays during first semester. It’s where you work till you pass out, and go back and ask for more. It’s where you learn determination, dedication, and an insatiable work ethic. Then you take the field with two hundred other people (who have been through the same hell you have) and put every ounce of your heart and soul into your music and into your show. When you come off the field utterly exhausted, with tears streaming down your face, gasping for breath, and trying to find exactly where the show ends and reality begins- that, my friends, is where you make the memories that last a lifetime.
During my high school band career, I went to the National Champions twice, won State Championships three times, traveled all over Florida, and earned a medal for winning our class at a Bands of America Regional Championships. No accolades or awards can ever equal, let alone surpass, what happened inside of me. Band IS a life-changing experience and leaves no member untouched. The strength of passion and determination to succeed have changed my fundamental being, and without them, I would never be the same. People laugh at our "geeky" uniforms and feathery hats, but this never bothered me. I just look at them and realize that they will never know what I know, never do what I do, and never feel what I feel. And I thank God every second that I get to.
Cross-posted here and there.