Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Sound of Regret

Everyone has regrets. Those who say they don't lack a conscience, in my opinion, because no one is batting a thousand in the judgement and life decisions arena (please pardon the mixed sports metaphor). Some people regret things they did, things they said. Others regret things they didn't do.

My top three regrets in life fall into the latter category and both have to do with music, my passion thanks to my high school band experience.

Anyone who knows me even a little knows I am a way-out-of-the-closet Band Geek (capital B, capital G). I dated a music major in college and hung out at the school of music so frequently that more than one professor thought I WAS a music major that they just hadn't had in their class yet.

I actually made an audition tape in high school to send to colleges because I was thinking seriously about music as a major. I wanted - and still want to this day - to be a band director. Auditioning with the likes of Matt Hickman (I'm lookin' at you, Aire-Gai) intimidated me and I ended up not sending the tapes. I majored in English because I didn't think I had the chops to get through the performance portion of the curriculum. I majored in English. Regret number one.

During my sophomore year in high school, I had my first experience with Drum Corps, International (DCI). I was smitten. All of the power of the so many brass instruments backed by some of the most amazing percussion you will ever hear. The precision, pageantry and artistry of what they did was astounding. I fell in love and followed The Phantom Regiment religiously. Our band director had hired one of their visual designers to write our drill.

I saw them end the season ranked second with their New World Symphony program. I wanted to be one of them. I sent away for the audition packet, received it and tossed it. I knew I had the marching skills, but again lacked confidence in my playing. I pitched the packet. Regret number 2.

All through high school, I knew I wanted to attend Ohio State. For one reason and one reason only. The Best Damn Band In The Land. In fact, a friend and I contemplated switching to tuba (damned the fact that I didn't yet have a firm grasp on reading bass clef) just so we had a shot at dotting the i one day. My bags were packed, I was ready to report early for marching band auditions. Again, my confidence failed me. I wanted it so badly that if I didn't make it, I would be absolutely crushed.

I went to summer sessions (an insanely and stupidly hard practice session for both current marching band members and those who want to try out). I went a few times, got ridiculously frustrated and convinced myself that I would have to be satisfied with the Spring and athletic bands, who take anyone (and still got to be under the direction of Dr. Jon Woods - eh!). In my 5 years at THE Ohio State University, I never auditioned. Regret number 3.

Last night I attended a Drum Corps show at a local high school, where at least two, if not all three, of my regrets collided. The Ohio State Pep Band did the Star Spangled Banner and then I watched as musicians not as talented as I was 20 years ago (and I wasn't, just trying to make a point here) got to march with a Corps. I could have made at least two of those Corps without blinking.

Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda.

My regret is strong enough that several times in the past few years I have seriously contemplated trying to talk my old trumpet instructor (now the Associate Dean at OSU's School of Music) to once again take me on as a pupil, get my chops in shape and go back to school to become a band director. If I started now, I could be done by the time Jack is ready to be in his marching band :) What I wouldn't give to write a drill, choose music and see 150 high school students come together to perform it and (most of them, anyway) enjoy it.

I've shared mine, Band Geek to the finish. What are your regrets? Something you've done or DIDN'T do?


smarmyscousin said...

Ok, you must be some kind of mind reader or picking up I my vibes from down there in Columbus! My friend and I were just talking at lunch the other day. Yes, there are regrets, yes, I would've done things different but the burning this it? Sounds simple enough but is this really what I couldn't wait for when I was a kid? I wanted to grow up already and be an adult. Now that I'm here, is this it? Perhaps this is the midlife crisis phase that everyone speaks of, you think?

Jenny Penny said...

I actually always thought you WERE in the band at OSU. And I always thought you DID play the tuba. Where have I been!? I'm sure I thought those things because you've talked of band and OSU often. You're young. You can't do the i anymore, but you could totally be a band director. My regrets? I was just going through memorabalia in the basement during a big clean sweep, and I regret pretty much my entire college life. I didn't make a single friend in college -- not one! -- because I was too busy playing house all the time with this or that boyfriend. I was unbelievably immature. I could have traveled, done better in school, and probably been published if I'd given even half the effort toward myself as I gave toward boys. Lame. Immature. Very regrettable.