Long Term Benefits of Band

I feel like less and less people are taking a chance and committing to a season of corps, or a season of WGI. As soon as you think you’ve got someone hooked, they’ve already quit, leaving you with not only a hole in your section, and in a lot of cases, no one eagerly revving up to take their place.

We constantly sing the obvious praises of why band is so great. Doing a cool loud thing for thousands of people. Getting mega ripped. Growing as a musician and a performer.

The truth is, the pageantry arts gives back your time spent rehearsing and traveling and living the pageantry life in a thousand subtle ways, 900 of those you might not even notice right away.

Half of it is the way music grows from a sheet of white speckled in black to a moving experience on the field to a detailed and meaningful memory. Once you perform a piece of music, it’s never the same for you again.

In 2012 the Surf opened with “In the Stone”. Earth Wind and Fire tune, and signature Bridgemen tune. Huge risk for the Jersey Surf, for any drum corps, to do a tribute to another corps, especially one of the most idiosyncratic corps of all time. And here we were, kicking off the downbeat of our entire show with “In the Stone”.

That’s why whenever I hear the tune, whenever I even think of it, I hear the “bridge”of the song comforting me: “Never, never my darling, never you’ll be alone…”

Or, for you, perhaps it’s that Taylor Swift tune you always did stretch to at shows. When it comes on in your car, you remember feeling like you could could take on anything.

What about when you hear your corps song playing? You stop everything you’re doing and listen, because every inch of that music and the people you played it with means home to you.

Often enough it’s the shenanigans that came with the music that also shape you into that person you’re thankful you are now.

The late night bus chats. You should have been asleep, and you paid for it the next day, but in your boundless conversation you learned a little bit about your bus buddies…and a whole lot about humanity.

The really terrible rehearsal day that no one ever stops blaming an entire state for. The one where everyone was throwing up and your techs didn’t notice it was 117 degrees on the turf until after the runthrough. The day that would have been the worst day of your life….had you been all alone, without a show to prepare for and make better, without a purpose.

That terrifying visual where you thought you were going to die because you had to depend on someone else’s body for balance. But they never let you
fall, not once.


That time you ran down that super steep tunnel together in Dayton and spilled out from behind a curtain with drums and a floor and pretty much had the best 7 minutes of your life?

Its difficult to explain this to someone who’s never stuck around, or never even tried out for a full season.

Somehow we can’t articulate that the reasons people should do this activity are small and random and sometimes without reward. Because what we really want to say is:

“You should do this because you’ll never be able to forget anything about it.”

And so sometimes I wonder if the best we can do for the future of band is to keep leading our friends and our students to the kool-aid and just praying that they will trust us and drink.

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