Geeking Out — High School Marching Band Style

by Kara Kaloplastos

Not a lot of people know this about me, but I was a total band geek in high school. I didn’t even play something delicate and cute. I played the baritone horn, which resembles a small tuba. I was a low brass girl, and I had the shako and band jacket to boot. Ahem. Anyway, the town I grew up in took our high school marching band very, very, very seriously. We practiced more than any sports team at our school and won more awards and competitions than all of them combined. Despite the occasional teasing I received from my non-band peers, I was thoroughly devoted to the music and the intense drill that went along with being in such a prestigious music program. I learned what it felt like to devote countless hours to a craft and see it pay off—we took first place in our division every single year after competing at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

After high school, I stopped playing, and eventually stopped thinking about all those hours spent after school and on weekends dragging my toes around a gravel parking lot with a mini tuba on my shoulder. As some of you may know, I just relocated to a new city, and I’ve been hard at work looking for a job. I checked my usual go-tos: office work, waitressing, etc. to sustain me during my graduate studies this semester. Nothing really caught my eye. Then, the other day, I clicked on an ad that made me laugh at first, before catching me off-guard with powerful nostalgia: Marching/Visuals Instructor needed ASAP for excellent high school marching band program. What seemed like a whim at first became a plausible means of employment. I threw myself into all my old drill and marching fundamentals. I ranted to my boyfriend about my newfound geeky reconnection with my old self. Had I ever even mentioned how much I used to love band? Had I ever even told him I used to be in marching band? I couldn’t even say.

All of sudden, I found myself meeting with the new band director this week, planning out the rehearsal schedule, marking their high school football games on my schedule. The list goes on. Nothing I’ve found on Craigslist could have matched half the enthusiasm I feel about working with a great group of students this year and leading them along their path to geekdom as I was once led. I guess the message that I am trying to convey is not to be afraid to honor that nerdy part of yourself that may lay dormant within your soul. Whether it’s marching band, computer programming, or a love for sci-fi, don’t be afraid to acknowledge that part of yourself. We’ve all downplayed our geekiness in order to appear “cooler,” and for a long time after high school I never said the word ‘band’ around anyone. Now I’m marching around my living room and practicing commands while my boyfriend looks at me like I’m some kind of alien dropped down from God knows where. But you know what? I’m okay with it. It’s going to be a seriously awesome season. Band, ten hut!