Go Ahead, Call Me a Band Geek : Blog Of The Nation Now that August is upon us, fall sports practices have begun around the country... but football and soccer players aren't the only students sweating on the field. It's also the time of year when high school
NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/12531679/12533970" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Go Ahead, Call Me a Band Geek

Go Ahead, Call Me a Band Geek

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/12531679/12533970" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Now that August is upon us, fall sports practices have begun around the country... but football and soccer players aren't the only students sweating on the field. It's also the time of year when high school marching bands head to camp to get the bulk of the year's hard work under their belts. I was in the marching band in high school (some might call this an embarrassing revelation on par with last week's — I'm on a roll! — but I disagree — and if you don't believe me, ask any of these trendsetters and rockstars), and August meant working mornings decorating cakes and serving up banana splits at Baskin-Robbins, and scorching afternoons on the practice field learning, and then teaching others, how to march and execute turns and obliques. It's a unique experience... not a sport, though it's sweaty and competitive*, and not a class, though you learn and have tons of homework... and one I reflect on with absolute fondness. The most memorable halftime show we put on while I was there was a tribute to Motown that brought down the house every week with Thriller. What's your best marching band memory? Are you a band mom or dad now?

*You can read an excerpt of Kristen Laine's American Band: Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland here.