Today I watched a brass band play and had flashbacks to high school.
Our oldest’s school hosted a bazaar and band performance that was, in a word, bizarre. First, the PTA, including She Who Must Be Obeyed, set up a used goods flea market inside the school dojo. They chose the dojo because it offered limited access and the best security. They then handed out numbers to interested parties and (via the corruption of easy access) to family members, including our youngest.
When the bazaar opened, we had to stand in numerical order and then change shoes and raid the used goods. At the same time, a group of people with the next 50 numbers was lined up to get in and She Who Must Be Obeyed and other PTA members were selling hot dogs, fried chicken, fried noodles and doughy octopus balls (which sounds funnier than takoyaki).
The bazaar was scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. However, at 9:00 a.m., the Junior High Brass Band put on a show that included comedy sketches and, well, we’ll get to that.
Because She Who Must Be Obeyed was busy with bazaar, Yours Truly was handed our youngest, a video camera and voluntold to record the show and watch our youngest whilst simultaneously making sure our youngest didn’t lose our number 47 (which by colossal coincidence is my age for about 15 more days).
The band performance opened with a comedy routine that mimicked most Japanese comedy duos and teams (lots of slapstick based on puns). The performance was actually pretty good–which given how much they practice they’d better be–but the trumpet player clearly got nervous during her solo at the beginning of the less than rousing, obligatory performance of Let it Go. As a former trumpet player, I felt her pain (I also felt she could have used some vibrato).
The show featured, though, one of the more puzzling things about being in band: having to stand up at random times to seem cool/add excitement. I remember having to do this in both Hayden, Colorado and at my high school in Kansas. In some cases, during a Glen Miller song, we’d have to stand up and swing our horns left and right which actually made a kind of sense (swing tunes, swing horns).
It was the random standing that got to me. I understand if a soloist needs to stand up because then the audience knows who is playing but I don’t understand an entire section standing up. It’s as if the director thinks the music is boring so she makes a section stand up and suddenly, like magic, the music is exciting.
Try randomly standing up and sitting down during a conversation once and see what kind of excitement that adds to the conversation.
In some cases, one section stands up and then another stands up in front of them in a kind of dueling sections that pisses off the parents trying to get clear video of their oldest daughter playing flute and piccolo.
In the end, the band was asked for an encore (which is obligatory and involves more standing) and then they said goodbye to audience on the way out.
Next year, if our oldest is still playing, I’m going to try to get the audience to stand up at random times. Won’t that be exciting?