Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Minuteman Marching Band Memories, part X

A little tiny pod of remembrances from my senior year with the UMass marching band, fall 1987 … to make up for the novel in my last post …

Rehearsal: Friday, October 16

[] “You doin’ anything right now?” Heidi had asked, early in the afternoon. When I replied no, she grabbed my band jacket collar, tugged, and said, “You are now.” (A Hampshire Mall run: we had to get several more bags of Poker Chips, Savior of Modern Civilization and Marker of Drill Positions On Fields.)

[] Practice involved cleaning of Can Can drill. What fun. It gave me at least one more chance to be alert or get killed — I almost got sandwiched between Corinne Putt’s [’90] trumpet and Jen Boltz’s [’89] mellophone. Four complete lips were in jeopardy. You’ve got to be fleet of foot around here–!

MICA Western Regionals, South Hadley, MA: Sunday, October 18, 1987

[] After our exhibition, which to me didn’t feel quite right most of the way, we ended up not playing My Way – instead, we just moved to a block formation between the 45-yardlines (which put our last rank about eight steps off the back sideline) and went to parade rest for another 20 minutes as raffles were won after great long pauses. At one point, the drumline faked having the winning ticket.

During the award ceremony, UMass received an honorary thank-you sort of plaque. Heidi had said to us beforehand, “You guys stay at attention. I’ll shake the hands.” As we presented arms, I got confused as to what salute we were doing, since we had three different ones now, and I realized that it was the 4-count job just a bit late.

So, after making myself look totally clumsy (imagining a zillion high school bandos pointing me out at the MICA festival at Sullivan Stadium next week — “look, there’s the clueless one”), I hitched a ride home with Heidi and agreed with her assertion: “Well! We were just thoroughly disgusting.” For myself, I was thoroughly annoyed at the fact that I had just sleepwalked through a show.

Hmm — we’d hit a season performance low and the crowd had still threatened to throw their first-born at us. This won’t teach us any valuable lessons.

To be continued…


October 7, 2010 - Posted by | band, drum major, humor, marching band, music, UMMB


  1. …was I really this self-centered, controlling and egotistical in everything I did in those days? Geez! It’s a wonder George ever gave me the time of day let alone his support over the last 27 years!

    Comment by Heidi | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • …Not that I was aware of! (Do you remember me arguing when I had my collar tugged? Of course not! 🙂 )

      Comment by rhammerton1 | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • What did George say? A leader sees what needs to be done…

      I think there’s a fine line, or perhaps a grey area, when considering self-centered, controlling, and egotistical vs. taking an appropriate leadership role, making things happen, and getting the job done. It’s an important distinction, and the difference probably lies in your attitude toward what you’re doing and toward the other people involved. A lot of people didn’t get that for George, it was never about him, it was about the band and the people involved. So, the question is, was it about you? I doubt it.

      Comment by Steve Robinson | October 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hey, Heidi, I’m thinking those were just some of the more memorable times, not your average day. 🙂

    Comment by Holly | October 7, 2010 | Reply

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