I was able to see the kids in the drumline from the band I work with. They had a good show. I thought from a design standpoint, the show was well constructed. It was nice to see too that several kids from the wind section were playing percussion for the winterline. Any time you can get more experience as a performer, the better 😀
Later on, as I am guiding buses and equipment trucks into the parking lot one bus full of kids goes by and I see lots of hands waving at me. I wave back. Why not, didn’t think much of it. Kids are goofy; I figured it was a, hey let’s wave at the guy in the orange vest, moment.
A few minutes those kids are getting of the bus and heading to the restrooms. They’re like, Hey Ray! I really have trouble recognizing the first few and they are like, aww, you don’t remember me? A few more pass by, more hellos, and they are starting to look familiar. I did a summer band camp between my drum corps gig and my fall marching band gig, seven 2 hour rehearsals. Another issue I was having recognizing them, something they may have failed to realize THEY WERE IN FULL FACE MAKEUP!!! Very intricate patterns that changed the shapes of their faces.
I knew their staff and when they came by I chatted briefly with them. I was very touched that so many of those kids remembered my name from the brief time I spent with them 8 months ago 😀
I also got a big hug from one of the parents. When my friend got the director position at this high school, every year she has numerous stories about how this guy goes above and beyond in his efforts to support the band and the other performing ensembles. He also takes the most beautiful pictures of the kids in action or in down time. The guy should really be a professional photographer. He has a knack for capturing the essence of the moment. When I met him 8 months ago at the summer band camp it was a very pleasant surprise to hear from him that he has heard stories about me for years too 😀 Love that guy; we exchanged pleasantries and he went on his way, no doubt to take pictures as he had camera in hand 😀
I started becoming overwhelmed by the number former students and former instructors I had worked with coming and going with the various ensembles that were performing. Some I had seen over the years, but again usually in moments where they or I was with one ensemble or another and never really getting a chance to even have a brief conversation, just the quick nod or wave. Funny to have a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in 8, 9, 10 years but that closeness and intensity of the time you were together comes back for a moment 😀
I see the kids from the summer band camp line up to do their show and I take a break from parking duties so I can watch. I was actually motivated by the fact that my friend knew I was there and next time we hang out she would probably ask me if I saw the show. As far as I knew she would not be there because she was with her colorguard at a show a couple of dozen miles away. (turns out as soon as her guard was done performing she jumped in her car and headed out to watch her drumline. I should have figured, she’s that kind of person :D) The show was amazing! She has put together one of the most talented, creative, collaborative staffs I have ever had personal contact with. When her staff came by later where my parking duty position was, and asked me what I thought of the show I told them they are giving those kids the experience of a lifetime 😀
This was a two day event. I got there, day one, at 8AM and it was approaching 8PM. I was coming back the next day at 8AM so I decided to call it a night at that point. I heard the next day that hardiest of the volunteers didn’t get home until 11PM, and I saw them the next day at 8AM. Got to love that kind of dedication to a school program 😀
The next day my day started with me approaching an instructor who looked very familiar. “Lazell?” Yes, he says. We marched together! (29 years ago) Yes! He says 😀 You played baritone, right? Yes!, I say. (he was a drummer, tenors) We talked for quite a while as it was just past 8AM and the first show was not until 11AM. That was a great moment 😀
Very soon after an instructor approaches me and says, you marched 87 VK, didn’t you? Yes, I say. I stare at him briefly. Eddie? Yeah man! I then he gives me a huge bear hug. He was the front ensemble instructor my drum corps age-out year. How badass was I that 26 years later the front ensemble instructor remembers me! 😀 We had a great conversation.
Buses, trucks, and cars start rolling in consistently now and I am in help these people get their vehicles parked mode and help people get their gig rolling.
At one point a group of cars approaches and I can hear someone in a backseat say, Ray!, Ray! I see it is a former student from just a couple of years ago. After they park she comes gives me a one of the best hugs I have had in a long time 😀 We talk a lot, they are very early and their equipment truck is not there yet. We talked several more times that day. She was someone that used to concern me a little more than the others because she has such a strong presence that her mood, attitude, emotions could have a great effect on others around her. She has come such a long way; it was good to see her and the fact that she is mature enough to handle the responsibilities of being an instructor of younger people. Lord knows at her age I would not have been able to handle that.
Parking staff was short, but it was all good. The guy in charge came around frequently and we had some good chats. Also one of the guard dads came by to help after he was relieved of his parking duties on the other side of the campus. I have said before, one of the reasons I work for and support these people and this program is top to bottom they are a great bunch of people and I love and appreciate every one of them.
I probably should have taken notes during this event the past weekend. There were so many moments that were warm and wonderful 😀 Like when a mom asked me when I showed up Sunday morning, Ray are you actually assigned to something specific or do you just show up and volunteer because you rock?!
Both, I say! 😀