To whom it may concern, or whoever the h**l is interested enough to read my dumb blog post....Today I’m gonna elaborate on something that happened in my life that molded me into the person I am today. Now as much as I’d like to say this was an all positive event that ended with sunshine, smiles, and ice cream, it wasn’t...this was a time where I felt the lowest I’ve ever felt, when I asked myself “what the hell are you doing man”. This was not one of the best moments of my life, however it skewed my timeline and made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change ANY of this. So here we go...
My Sophomore Year Drum Major Audition
My sophomore year of high school was a roller coaster ride and a half, I broke out of my comfort zone, found my place in the social aspect of life (kinda), developed a lot of relationships that changed the path my life was headed, and experienced many other life changing events. It was during this year that I was confident that I wanted to be the drum major for my High School’s marching band. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a leadership position in the band that officially brands you as THE leader/role model for all the other members of the band. Plus you get to stand in front of the field and conduct the group instead of running around between the yard lines with a saxophone which for me, an out of shape fat kid, sounded VERY appealing.
A picture of the marching band's saxophone section from my Sophomore Year: (Right to Left) Mikey, Sam, and myself.
Anyways, in high school I wasn’t always the quiet kid. I had a very “outgoing” personality with a unique sense of humor. (I also had a hell of a motor mouth, which I have since learned to tame) On the day of my drum major audition I had a pretty rough morning, I woke up late, missed breakfast, got back some assignments with not so great grades, and I was all around just pissed off. I ended up getting a pass for study hall to go down to one of the music rooms to “practice” (I just really wanted to chill by myself, away from everyone). When one of the teachers that was supervising the room saw that I was hiding in a practice room doing nothing he made it clear he was openly upset, and told me that I had to go with him to another class to be supervised. I wasn’t having it, I got a little mouthy with him and returned the negative energy he presented me with, he sent me back to my study hall and as I left I said out loud to myself out of sheer frustration, “he’s not my teacher who is he to tell me what to do”. Since I didn’t have him for any classes at the time I thought I had made a correct statement.
Fast forward a few hours later to my drum major audition, I was called into the room and stood before a panel of 5. The first question that I was asked was as follows, “is it true that today you had an exchange of words with **insert chorus teacher’s name**, and then proceeded to say “he’s not my teacher, who is he to tell me what to do?”. Naturally I kinda crapped my pants and didn’t really have much to say other than I had not had a good day and he caught me at my breaking point. A bystander in the room who knew I was auditioning for drum major heard me say that, and reported it to the panel consisting of 3 marching band staff (one being the band director). I knew at that moment my ship had sunk, I didn’t get the position that I thrived for and worked so hard to get (I didn’t include how much I really focused on leadership during marching band rehearsals but just know I really really took it very serious and tried my absolute best to be the best leader I could be).
I was in shambles, I debated not doing band anymore, quitting music all around, I hit what I call a dead end of life.
After a few weeks I had decided that quitting band wouldn’t solve anything, and all it would do is make me more upset and miserable. I decided to stick with it, and a few months later even decided I wanted to take marching band to a new level and join a competing drum & bugle corps. The name of the corps was The Spartans Drum & Bugle Corps out of Nashua, NH. I auditioned, made the cut, spent the summer with the corps practicing every week for 5 Days a week, and spend 3 and a half weeks on tour with the corps through the middle of the country and had one of the best summers of my life.
A picture of me as a youngling (right) experiencing the power of music at its finest.
During the last week of our tour I had gotten an email from a group I had sent in a video audition for, the United States Army All American Marching Band. For those who don’t know the All American Bowl is a game of the country’s best high school football players, the east vs. the west (yes, just like the Key and Peele skit). The game used to have a marching band that follows the same protocol as the football teams, and at the time was one of the most prestigious honors bands in the country. The email that I got informed me that I had been accepted as a member of the honors band and was going to play the halftime show for the All American Bowl. My hands were shaking as I read the email, I couldn’t believe it. I had to keep this a secret so I only told my closest friends in the corps and my closest instructors.
The 2014 US Army All American Marching Band saxophone section back stage right after our halftime performance for the All American Bowl
(Left to Right) Cat, Me, Harrison, Brian (in uniform), Jared, Melissa, Corey, Danny, Aslinn, and Mike.
The 2013 Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps Bass Drums right before we jumped on a bus for 2 weeks.
left to right, James, Alex, Devam, Bernie, and yours truly. These guys became brothers very fast and I couldn't thank them enough for making my experience what it was.
So, why have I spent the time to write all this out and tell you guys? Well, why did you take the time to read it?
I know that if I had gotten drum major, I would have never auditioned for the Spartans because the rehearsal schedule interfered with the drum major training course. I learned a lot from the drum corps and made so many friends, I’m confident that I was accepted into the All American Marching Band because of the traits and I learned from my time with the Spartans.
Point to be made, don’t let the dead ends of life get you down, because they’re going to mold you into the person that you’re destined to become and they may open paths for bigger and better experiences in life...
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