The Band Room: Changing Life’s One Girl at a Time As I walked out of the band room for the last time, I was overwhelmed with sadness and accepted how connected I became to the four plain walls that we called the “band room. ” To an outsider looking in, they would only see a wall with hundreds of tan lockers with small, purple labeled numbers, a wall of closets that lead to rooms filled with what appeared to be Junk; poles, fabric, wooden guns and metal sabers. They would see a room that served no purpose other than holding the instruments and dancing materials that the marching band needed.
For me, the room had ecome my personal space and I was no longer the girl that began her Journey four years prior. Today, seven years have passed since the first time I entered the “dreaded band room,” and I can look back and see that that room and the people inside of it made me who I am today. It was the first day of high school marching band rehearsal, and the sun was pounding down on the pavement as if it was heating a burner on a stove. The empty chairs were slowing filling with some eager, some anxious, and some down right lost soon-to-be freshman.
It was early June; summer had Just begun for all other Just raduated eighth graders, but not for the students filling these chairs. I had only signed up to do this because my best friend, Maria, talked me into it. Maria was out of town and wouldn’t be back until the end of the summer. Feelings of resentment came over me as I sat alone, knowing I had to face the whole “band camp” without her. I was the kind of girl that needed a friend to do anything. At times it seemed like my body was physically incapable of functioning alone but, there I was, in this band room, feeling completely and utterly alone.
I slowly gazed around the room to occupy my mind on thoughts other than esenting Maria or accepting how alone I truly was. One of the first things I noticed was one of the older students helping lead the class, Brianne Tomas. Her energy filled the entire room with electricity; there was no way she was not going to be noticed. Her confidence oozed out of her being while her Joy about being in the band room was shocking to me. l, on the other hand, was filled with young teenage angst and a deep rooted fear of being alone. I held back the urge to gag and leave watching her happiness.
After what felt like hours, the director started speaking to us. She said that we would absolutely hate what we were doing over the summer but, if we decided to stick around long enough that it would all be worth it. She believed that we would all become some form of masochists, embracing the pain of running lap after lap, push-up after push-up, staying outside under the scorching heat of Las Vegas in the summer months. All of this would be made worth it by audiences going wild and hearing stadiums roar for us when we would walk into a performance.
When talks of returning for a second year were heard, I didn’t think I needed to ake a choice. My friends were continuing so why even question not coming back. Yet, I didn’t feel any connection to the room in the way that I heard others talking band room at any point in the school day or night. I often thought to myself, “Class was already long enough, two hours during school and four hours a night every single day, why would anyone want to be in that room longer than they were forced to be? ” My friendship with Maria quickly dissolved into nothing, as friendships of young tweens often did, and she had quit the marching band.
I thought I would be ost without her as I was the first day of marching band yet somehow I wasn’t. I had created a bond with the other dancers and I knew that I faced band camp without her, and I could face this even though my head was staring to fill with fear. Brianne, the girl that I once cringed at, became my salvation from these feelings. Throughout our two years together she had become became my inspiration and a great friend. I wanted the electricity I once hated and I wanted to feel the Joy she felt when she danced. Above all else, I wanted to live my life without fear as she did.
Watching her movement made me want to be a better dancer. Brianne taught me everything I knew about dance in that year. She took me under her wing and inspired me to be better in life and in dance. Whenever I thought I could not do something, there was Brianne forcing me to Jump into a crowd and Just do it. I had never felt more uncomfortable in my life at times and I often thought she didn’t care but, without her pushing me I would have never become a better performer. After Brianne graduated, I found myself in the band room with all other band students enjoying each other’s company before school started for the day.
I even was arriving at school earlier and leaving later at night to have time to talk with my fellow band mates. Remembering back to days when I did not know where to go at the beginning of the day seemed like a distant memory. The band room was where everything and everyone I needed was, in a way it became a friend itself. So many fresh faced, young dancers entered the band room every June as I once did with looks of fear and anxiousness that I once shared with them. The director gave the same speech about hating what was about to happen but in the end loving it.
As I heard the speech for the third time, I watched their many different reactions and knew that what the director was telling them was true. One of those new dancers that I noticed was a young girl named Shannon Clark. Shannon was a freshman my Junior year, as I was with Brianne when I started dancing. Shannon was full of light yet, I found a similar sense of fear in her being when she first walked into the band room for the first time. I understood her fears and hoped that she would find a connection to the room and dance as I had done in my four years.