Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Minuteman Marching Band Memories: The Big(?) Finish

Final portion of this relatively interminable example of wallowing in one’s nostalgic past. To summarize: how many times does one get to be not a George Parks drum major (there are actually about 75,000 of those, according to Drum Major Academy statistics), but one of George Parks’ drum majors?  Heck, just being in GNP’s band was something not everybody in the whole world got to do.

Soccer Band at the Women’s Final Four, First Semifinal, Alumni Stadium: Saturday, November 21, 1987

[] Time to play at being a Soccer Band – now there’s a strange concept, surely. The pack of Soccer Bandos included myself, Basil [Istwany], Lyn [Gerhardt ’91, alto sax], Nancy [Schultz ’91, tenor sax], Rob Katz [’90, trumpet], Craig Jennings [’91, trumpet], Mike Bartley [’91, clarinet], John Noyes and Maureen Foley [’91, mellophone] — pretty well-balanced instrumentation for a volunteer force playing on the afternoon before Band Banquet.  We headed down to the Stadium in Rob’s just-barely-large-enough car. It was a hoot: people had to sit on other people’s laps, and Lyn had to sprawl across the four people in the back seat. (Well, she was only about 5’3” and weighed approximately nothing; she could do it.) When we finally arrived at the Stadium – it felt like we’d spent two years inside that car – we waddled up into the home-side stands, getting a nice response from the fans who had already braced for an afternoon of soccer.

I say “braced” because it was 15 degrees out, with a 20 mph wind. The brass instruments had iced up inside. Breath had actually frozen inside the horns … Basil’s tuba valves wouldn’t move … it would have been a very quiet Fight Mass. So we watched the game from the empty photographers’ platform under the press box. Not much wind, lots of huddling. At the half, we got out some percussion equipment and banged on it for a while, which actually did distract the crowd briefly from the fact that they were all blocks of ice.

Rehearsal: Wednesday, December 2, 1987

Merry Maple repertoire reading in Chapel. During which Mr. Parks had managed to draw laughs from the band and an astonished look from Heidi and I as he referred to “that five-note phrase from the movie ‘Great Adventures of the Third Kind.’”

Rehearsal: Thursday, December 3, 1987

And more of the same. We read through the sing-along material (“Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, la la la laaaaa!” Because we STILL don’t know the words!). This was obviously Silly Day: GNP quipped, “If you don’t know the words to any of these Christmas carols, ask Heidi.”

So endeth a season — give or take a Merry Maple performance and uniform return day.  Which, admittedly, ain’t that much of a big finish. But then, I seem to recall that most marching seasons (those lacking an Inauguration or other such nonsense) ended with a whimper, not a bang.  Mostly they ended with a hearty Franklin DC dinner and several final exams.

Ah, but there’s always Hoop Band…

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | band, GNP, humor, marching band, music, sports, UMMB

2 Comments »

  1. and BAND BANQUET

    Comment by Holly | October 14, 2010 | Reply

    • Usually, yes… but that particular year, Banquet was the weekend before Thanksgiving. Why? … Absolutely no idea. But I remember it being a weird thing.

      Comment by rhammerton1 | October 15, 2010 | Reply


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