The End of a Marching Era

The end of an era has arrived. I can’t believe how something I’ve done for more than a third of my life is over. Yesterday was my final performance as a member of a Marching Band. I’m really going to miss it.

Jumping back a few years (to when I was 12), my mom convinced me to take a band class in middle school. I knew I wanted to do something with music, as I had taken several years of piano lessons before that point. My parents and family also told me I had a natural talent, so I agreed to do it.

That band class was actually Beginning Percussion Ensemble. I got a bell kit and a practice pad with a pair of mallets and sticks. Little did I know that that small kit would influence the projection of my future in high school. I moved to Intermediate Percussion Ensemble and then went to Symphonic Band the following year in the same middle school.

It was the summer before that Symphonic Band class that my parents told me to try marching band. It was only a few weeks before school was to start, and I thought I’d give it a try. I did the Front Ensemble, which, in my time was lovingly referred to as the “pit”. I got four different parts in our “Voices of Jazz” show and was told to start practicing. We traveled to Gunnison, a tiny town in the middle of Utah, and practiced for a week. I was terrified and super homesick. But, the experience made me better and I grew to love playing on those many percussion instruments.

After that season, I decided that the drum line was way cooler than the pit, so I started taking private lessons to try out for the snare line. It was weird holding sticks a different way, and marching snare is a little different than concert snare, but I kept at it. Tryouts came, and I made the line. I was so thrilled, and kept practicing and wanted to be my best for our Pat Metheny show. I earned the nickname Dwight, got better at snare, and felt like I belonged.

The next few years were also fun but seemed to fly by. We did our Dona Nobis Pachem and Bermuda Triangle shows, and they were hard work. I don’t remember how we placed, but I remember the amount of fun that those seasons brought. Aside from those shows, I was put in the Advanced Percussion Ensemble and pushed my mallet technique, because I thought it was cooler than marching percussion. Even though I loved physics then, I was almost convinced my future was in music.

Private lessons, advanced ensembles, dozens of performances, and tons of friends later, I decided to pursue a physics degree at BYU. Part of that experience, in my mind, would require being on the drum line. So I worked hard, auditioned, and made the snare position. 5 years, and a mission later, I’ve reached the end.

I have made so many friends, and have made so many memories with those friends throughout the years. And now it is over. I thought yesterday when we sang our Alma Mater that I would cry, but I didn’t. It wasn’t until a few hours later when it hit me that I would never again don a drum at a BYU football game. That’s when I cried.

Now, if you’ve been keeping track, I’ve been in a marching band for 9 years. I’m 24, and that means that I have participated in a marching ensemble for over a third of my life. If you count the years that I really remember, it’s about a half of my life. I don’t regret any of it, even if it did make things hard at times.

Now that I’m at the end, I have so many people to thank for getting me to this point. I have my band directors, my drumline instructors, my leaders, my drum majors, my family, and all of my friends. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done to make my years of marching enjoyable.

I mean, we’re so cool. We get to be featured on the football Facebook page.

Again, I can’t believe that it is over. 9 years is a significant portion of my life, and knowing that I won’t be doing it myself anymore bums me out. I’m not going to get to look forward to a mini vacation every December, I’m not going to get to rehearse with my friends, and I’m not going to get to drum as much anymore.

However, I still have my memories. I still have my friends. I’m not going to just give up on music. I’ll find something to fill this new void, and I’ll continue to support the band. If my children choose to do band, I’ll support them like my parents have. If I get exceedingly rich, I’ll donate to the band programs. In my mind, though my marching experience has ended, like so many other things in life, a new chapter is only beginning. There’s more to come, and I’ll just have to see where I go from here.

Waving good-bye after my final field show! I’m sure going to miss it.
David Van Komen Written by:

I am just an abnormal normal guy that loves the Internet, physics, and lots of other great and wonderful things. Though I don't seem it, I enjoy writing about whatever interests me.

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