Experience Gaining

An experience that shall never escape me is my first week of marching band camp
in ninth grade. Held at my high school of the time, this two-week journey will
fill your soul with glorious notes and alert your senses to the feeling of
music. Everywhere you place yourself for those two weeks at camp, no matter
where, you cannot get away from the essence of song and rhythm. Whether youíre
sitting in the heated band room with humidity that resembles walking through an
ocean or on break for fifthteen minutes smoking harsh cigarettes fast enough to
also get a refreshing drink of water that cools and moisturizes a heat-smacked
throat, the music is everywhere, and everything is in some way associated to the
music, even the pitcherís mound of the baseball field as it kicked up sand as
we traversed across it during practice. Upon entering the school which reminds
one of an ancient Greek temple with itís cracked pillars, but still beautiful
structure, the all too familiar scent of wet paint rushes into your nose as you
gaze around to look at the dusty floor and bare walls that will become covered
in student propaganda like some silly mosaic. As you climb the chipped marble
staircase, stray notes begin to stimulate your ears like that first hint in the
morning that you mother is cooking breakfast. On the oven-like fourth floor in
the band room, there are about seventy-five bustling teens playing instruments,
talking, and laughing into a unique whirlpool of music that you can feel
vibrating your very soul. Each different point of focus in that room has its own
very definite individuality and flavor, and you can see that just by standing in
the doorway! Mr. Lutz, the band instructor, is a very eccentric, short, balding
man who has that wide spaced rumbling in his voice like a bullfrog. Very serious
and to the point, he is also on of the nicest people that one could meet. When
the members first get their music, which is always somewhat challenging, there
is, at first, a unified look of confusion around the room so much that you can
almost taste the uneasiness. When we begin playing, the music sounds almost
nothing like itís supposed to. Sort of like everybodyís on the right page,
but a different part of it. After a while, though, everyone starts to get things
and the music starts streaming from many different parts into one fine, melodic
line. By the end of the first week, you could almost see the Disney movie

"Aladdin" as we played "A Whole New World." Now is the time to take all
that you have learned in the band room and drag it kicking and screaming out
into the unbearable August heat to learn the field routine. The grass of our
lumpy football field / baseball field is always freshly mowed and that sweet
smell seems to hang stagnant in the air, along with the clippings on your shoes.

On the home side of the field only, there are four rickety bleachers upon which
we precariously place our cases and other things that we bring along with us
like sun block and mini-coolers of water. Despite all this royal treatment, we
still must sum up our courage and infiltrate the battlefield; some veteran mixed
in along with the fresh meat. At the start, this consisted of us being placed in
spots on the football field and being treated like pawns on an augmented
chessboard, pikes (instruments) in hand. Once we got the gist of where we were
supposed to move, it was then time to do this while playing. Each step we take
represents a beat in the music, so if done right, we has quite the impressive
effect of resembling a millipede that breaks apart and reforms at the will of
the drum major. Friday of the last week is when we have our first show for our
parents and friends. Scared, nervous, tense, anxious, are words that cannot even
begin to describe the feeling of your first show in front of a crowd of people.

Of course you donít want to perform, but deep down inside you have this
burning desire to show everyone what two weeks of sweating hard work can amount
to. You really donít realize actually how many people can fill up four
bleachers until itís too late. So here we are marching out into the field in
single file and on step like cartoon ants. My parents, some of my