Friday, March 13, 2015

Band prob etc. #1

This is the start of a new series - The series will be short stones (stories to the uninformed) about things that have happened or are happening  to me as a band student or director or watcher of other groups - In other words, an old guy doing what old guys do - talking and remembering things - telling them like listeners are interested in hearing them.
Example or Two:
#1    One fall, I took my Ardmore band to a marching contest in Altus, Okla.  I don't know why we went that far.   I wanted to get a marching appraisal from some different people, so we went.  It was an all day affair.  I was not happy with the way the group performed, but so it is.
        We sat in the stands watching the other bands.  Along came this band - can't remember the school - they were doing their show.  It was not too good.  Maybe 40 or so in band.  You could hear a tittering in the crowd.   The cymbal player was the center of attention.
         This young man was having a wardrobe malfunction.  His pants were falling down.  Let me review.  Losing his pants - cymbal player - what does he have in each hand?  That's right; he has a cymbal - big ones if I remember correctly.   He would march a few steps and use his cymbals to pull up his pants - march a bit more, grab his pants with his cymballed hands, pull up, and go.
         You know he was a young boy.   Most cymbal players in small bands are the younger drummers.   This young man did a sensational job of marching and fighting the trousers.   The show was coming to a close.  For the big ending, the band pulled up in front of the press box and did a majestic last chord.
          Our cymbal player knew it was the final chord - the one that leaves everyone with a lasting impression - the CLIMAX of the show.    He couldn't miss that final necessary last crash.    WHAM !!  He crashed the cymbals together letting his arms fly upward to expose the cymbals to the crowd - And the pants fell, all the way to his ankles.  He stood there until the end of the chord, gathered his pants, and marched triumphantly off the field to a Standing Ovation.
          There was a lady next to me who made an 8mm movie.   I own a copy of this movie.  I don't know where it is - grainy - focus? - it is somewhere in my stuff.   I hope somebody finds it someday.
#2      Same Ardmore band, different year I think, my excellent drum major Lee Ann Harris was standing on the sideline directing the band at a home football game.   She had a beautiful drum major uniform including one of those tall Busby fur hats.   I was too busy watching the band and missed her problem.
           The strings inside of the hat gave way.   The Hat fell down over her entire face.  She could not see a thing but the inside of the hat.  What would you have done?  She continued to conduct the band without a pause.  Someone in the stands snapped a photo (guessing her mom).  I have a copy right beside me attached to a filing cabinet even today.   Lee Ann was one of the finest drum majors that I ever had.   She went on to play in the One O'clock Jazz band at North Texas.  Excellent.  As a matter of fact, she was offered the opportunity to tour with Maynard Ferguson as the aux drummer. She declined.  I think it was because she would have been the only female traveling with Maynard's band.  What a great resume. 
more later

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