I love drumline. I really do. But right now, it’s ticking me off.
I’m rushing to the clump with my bass drum halfway on, while struggling to put a jacket on and take a sip of my water at the same time.
“Mark time mark!” Trevor calls out and suddenly, the clump becomes 3 long perfect lines. “Forward move!” Tyler whacks his snare three times in step with the band. It’s the start of band camp, and a scorching 85 degrees at 9:00 in the morning. I finally catch up with the drumline as Tyler whispers to me , “Hurry up next time. I know it’s your first year and all, but you can’t be late.” I want to snap a “I know, idiot” at him, but he’s a fourth year and in 11th grade. I’m only in 7th at the moment.
I put the water in my purse-thingy-ma-bob and grab my mallets, pulling them at attention.
I walk in step with the rest of the marching band, all the way to the practice field.
The practice field is a big field of grass near the middle and high school. Sometimes my gym teacher will have us play soccer there. But in the summer, we use it for band camp.
Ah. Band camp.
4 days from 9:00 to 8:00. Of course it has to be in late July, when everything is STINKING SCORCHING!!!! and we’ve all gotten used to chilling in the house with the air con blasting in our face. All the 3rd and 4th years look perfectly unfazed by the heat. How do they do that?
We get to the practice field and my brother (DRUM MAJOR!!!) calls out “Break!” Everybody unclumps and sets their instruments down and opens their waters before we head onto the field for basics. You know, forward and backward marching, jazz running (whatever that is), and flanks (although WE don’t have to worry about that, haha). My sister, Alanna, comes up to me, saying, “Ya got everything?”
Alanna’s my twin, although she’s a second year. She’s got her valve trombone in one hand, water in the other. I nod at her and continue rummaging through my bag until I find my duct tape and sharpies. In band camp, we mark our spots by using duct tape (a color for each section), writing our name and set on them and putting them on the ground. I look to my right to see the flutes have made a sash with duct tape, pockets on them to hold sharpies. Boo (everybody calls him that; he’s in my grade but half as tall as me) has become a “band camp assassin”, stabbing people with lidded sharpies. He looks at me, saying, “What are you staring at?” He then charges toward me. I run, but he gets me in the neck, and I melodramatically fall to the ground. His sister, Ally, claps. At me or Boo, I’m not sure.
Mr. Wheeler (our band director) calls us out to the field for basics. I roll my eyes but at the same time, I’m glad. I have no idea how to march or jazz run.
An hour later, basics is over and I’m sweating, my ankles hurting really, really, really bad. My sister walks up to me.
“You think this is bad?” She chuckles. “You’re not gonna survive the rest of the day.” She leaves with a smirk on her face.