Through my life people have always told me that the smallest choices I make could have the greatest impact on my life. What they said never fazed me, after all, how could one small choice change anything? Looking back on the past four years of high school, I think I finally understood what they meant. The small choice I made that ended up having the greatest impact was deciding to participate in marching band.
Not such a big deal, right? That’s what I thought walking in to the band room for our first practice during my freshman summer vacation. My first impression was that the band room was an OCD person’s exclusive nightmare. Instrument cases were placed strategically about on the floor constructing a make shift maze, while the lockers lining the walls seemed to be vacant. Beyond the winding maze the scattered groups of conversing students made the atmosphere light and cozy, dispelling the prison like impression the mundane walls created. Practice began and I hastily joined my friends and gradually conformed to this new homely niche in the northern wing of the school. Before or after school, practices, football games, basketball games, or competitions I’d find myself walking back to the band room to find comfort in the benevolent atmosphere. Somehow the chaotic clutter has become my sanctuary, a home away from home.
My new found family is there, too. Our eccentric family is mainly composed of my two crazy sisters, my little brother the tuba player, and the rather odd extended family in the brass and percussion. I know they’re all there for me when I need them, all thanks to the strange and mysterious ways marching band has brought our misfit group together. Through the past years band has given me something even more irreplaceable; the everlasting memories of my family and the fun times we’ve shared. The more distant memories like band camp at Mt. Evans of being chased out of the bunk house by spiders and large insects previously unknown to us; choreographing fun dances for when we are bored; falling asleep on each other’s shoulders on midnight bus rides back to school; or all the simple times where we just hung out; the whole recollection is still vivid in my mind due to the relentless playbacks. All of these fragments of my past in band fill my chest with yesterday’s laughter or ache from past defeats. Music from shows of previous years still echo in my ears as haunting melodies, reminding me of the sensation of performing in front of vast crowds, not as an individual, but as something far larger than myself, the greater image. I entered the band room as a naive and foolish freshman thinking that everything revolved around me, that’s all changed. Marching band has given me the tools I needed to be strong and work towards a future of my own choosing.
I’ll soon have to leave this refuge and allow the next person to take lead of my beloved clarinet section, but it won’t end there. I’ll always be a rebel in the marching band, though I may grow up and move away, I will owe it all to marching band for making me who I am. From that one small choice of signing up, it has all made a powerful impact on my life. I’m glad I made that choice, now and forever. Thanks to marching band, I now look to the brightening horizon, eyes set on life’s drum major, ready for the new tempo to carry me to my future, ready for this change. With my family watching my back and knowing I’ll always have a home to return to, I’m prepared to move on. With the chronicles of marching band forever locked in my heart, from now on I will march on.