Marching Forward

Wow, last night was incredible.

Nothing spectacular happened really, but it was more the atmosphere – the level of excitement and anticipation was almost palpable.

We attended the high school band’s parent meeting last night. We arrived a little early, stepped into the gym and was nearly knocked over by a huge bubble of expectation.

We had literally just stepped into a whole new chapter of Jazz’s life.

We dutifully stepped in line and picked up about ten forms placed into neat stacks on a cafeteria-style table. We then secured a place for ourselves in the bleachers and Jazz promptly disappeared to sit with his friends.

Moments after Kevin and I sat down, hoards of people began filing in and the brightly-colored forms that lined the table were soon gone.

We recognized several faces, but we didn’t speak to any of them. We offered simple nods and polite smiles but kept to ourselves.

That’s what we do.

That’s who we are.

We most likely appear stand-offish to many, me and my husband sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, speaking quietly, but we’re okay with that – we only need each other.

The band director only has one arm. He’s rather a legend in our scholastic circle. He’s admired and revered because he does more with his one arm than a lot of band directors could ever hope to do with two.

Our high school band had the best year it’s ever had last year. So naturally, the director is hoping for an even better year this year. He said the jazz band has fairly exploded and in fact, they were planning on having two jazz bands this year – Jazz was very happy to hear that.

He briefly introduced the other directors and went over upcoming dates. We submissively absorbed the information like fresh, dry sponges.

We were instructed to fill out three forms.

Naturally, I didn’t have a pen on me and had to beg one of the ladies sitting behind us for one.

One was a health form which required Jazz’s social security number. The reason he asked for the social security number was because last year, as they were leaving an event, their bus was rear-ended. (*gulp*) And the police asked for the social security number of every single child on the bus – which of course, no one knew or had. He said it was a mess and that in the future, they would have the numbers on file in case anything like that ever happened again.

Let’s hope it never happens again.

But I’m not worried. I’m honestly not. Though I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am just a bit nervous about him taking long trips (and there’s an overnight stay in St. Louis in October), I know he’ll be okay.

Because I trust God to take care of him.

Another form was an instrument form. The kids had the option of changing instruments if they so chose. When the kids are in middle school, they are pretty much stuck with the instrument that is assigned to them and in high school, they have a bit more flexibility. Granted, if the kids chose to play a new instrument, they would be asked to take lessons, but they still had the freedom to pursue other options if they so chose.

I thought that was cool.

Naturally, Jazz listed his number one instrument as the alto sax, but he listed the baritone sax as his second instrument of choice.

Later we told him that might not have been a wise choice given the barry sax is as big as he is and did he forget he was going to have to march with it?

I highly doubt he’ll ever get to that point, but it might be fun for him to try it out.

The last form caused me to break out into a sweat. It was an enrollment form for summer school.

And the dates? Neatly nestled the date we plan on taking off for our cruise like two sarcastic parenthesis.


But it was required. So I filled it out and stood in line to speak to the director.

Jazz was distraught. He WANTS to go to band summer school. He even insisted that we cancel our cruise so he could attend.

That’s how badly the boy wants to play in marching band. (And to think, six short months ago and turned his nose up at the idea. Ha!)

When I told Jazz that there was no way we could, or would, cancel our cruise, his skinny little chest deflated and he looked crushed.

I explained our situation to the director. Luckily, I had mis-read the form. Woodwinds were only required to attend summer school on certain days and those days? Did not conflict with our vacation.

The heavens opened up, the angels began to sing and Jazz was happy once again.

The meeting ended (I lost track of the woman who I borrowed the pen from so great, now I’m going to be known as “that woman who stole my pen” every time I see her at band functions, swell), and it wasn’t until we got home and I sat down to start putting the dates into my calendar that I realized …

Jazz is going to be INSANELY busy from August to November. And it’s also going to cost a small fortune.

I probably shouldn’t tell you exactly how much this is going to cost but let’s put it this way – we are expected to make three payments over the course of the next three months.

Yeah. Ouch.

He also has to buy several pairs of gloves (the woodwinds wear them), and special marching shoes (tennis shoes will not do).

That’s another $40 bucks right there.

But you know what? Big deal. There is no way we would deny Jazz this experience. And given his enthusiasm? It’ll be worth every penny.

And may I just say? I can not wait to see him in his band uniform!!

Because my family will probably be curious, I’m going to list the dates that he will either have summer school, camp, practice and performances.

Ready? *draws a breath*

Summer School (they actually gave him the music he needed to learn last night!)
June 15 – 16
July 13 – 14
July 27 – 28 (don’t worry mom, practice is in the evening so he won’t pass out from the heat).

Band Camp
August 10 – 14 8:00 – 5:00 Zoink! (he’ll actually be at school for 11 hours on the 14th because of freshman orientation that evening)
August 17 – 18 8:00 – 5:00

Band practice every Tuesday night through September and October (until 9:00 – the boy will be exhausted on Wednesdays).

He has a performance every weekend in October.

And let’s not forget the football home games every other Friday night in September and October.


He will be traveling to St. Louis twice to play at the dome. We plan on making the trip up there so we can watch him perform. When I mentioned the road trip to Dude, he perked up a bit.

We try not to make that big of a deal about Jazz’s interest in music in front of Dude. We don’t want him to feel left out or less loved, but it’s really hard NOT to be excited because well, it’s exciting.

But I’m hoping that all of this attention bestowed on Jazz and the fact that he will be having some amazing experiences prompts Dude to DO something next year.

Dude and I talked a bit after we got back from the meeting last night and when I encouraged him to get involved with a club or something next year, he didn’t immediately reject the idea like he has in year’s past. I’m confident that if he just got involved in something, he would enjoy school a little more.

He does act a bit more confident with school in general. I think being an upperclassman next year will really help boost his self-confidence and I’ve been encouraging him to take full advantage of the opportunities of being an upperclassman these last two years of school. I hope he he does.

You know, time goes by fast anyway. I have a feeling these next four years are going to zoom by at warp speed.

It’s both exciting and sobering.