Why Band Has Made Me Who I Am Today


Cristina Olvera, Editor

I started band in sixth grade, wide-eyed and heart racing trying to anticipate the journey this activity would take me on. You see, my mom did band too. She’d tell me stories of her time in it, helping me create a mindset of respect and admiration towards band. Stories about how when I was little, we’d watch parades and I’d get so excited watching the bands march along, always pointing at the drum major and cheering (even back then I knew drum majors were cool.) Well, it goes deeper than that actually, my mom is the reason I did band in the first place. She is the reason I chose the clarinet as my instrument, the one who pushed me and helped me to prepare for all my drum major auditions, and most important of all she made sure my uniform fit my short body sophomore year (freshman year was a dark time.)

Back to the point, my sixth-grade year came and went with me learning the basics of my instrument and watching funny cat videos on youtube with my very first band director, Mr. Stan. He was a jolly older guy who spent more time with us making sure we had fun than playing the clarinet! It may sound odd but this was the reason most of us stayed in the band, with Mr. Stan we had a class filled with laughter, fun, and music.

My seventh-grade year came and I met one of the best band directors in the world, Mrs. Anderson (she took Mr. Stan’s place after he retired.) Mrs. Anderson and Mr. Hudson were a powerhouse. They taught me to appreciate making music and to fall in love with every aspect of band. Thanks to those two, I joined the high school band and had the drive despite having our band ripped apart into two separate schools with so many new directors. So thank you, Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Anderson, for teaching me to love music for the intricacies and details that go into making and performing it.

High school band was a completely new beast in itself. There, I was introduced to this weird thing called marching band. For my freshman year, I was C7. That means I was one of the bunches of tiny clarinet dots on the field. That year was the hardest year for band I’ve ever had. I felt like everything I did was wrong. I was the freshman to always get called out from the tower for not reaching my spot or not learning the music as fast as everyone else or literally anything else someone could do incorrectly. To couple with that, there was a solid month or two at the beginning where people didn’t even call me the right name. And if that’s not enough, of course, I was in the talkative section. This basically meant I’d spend 10 minutes after my rehearsal running laps for my section leader paying the price for the troublemakers in my group. This wore me down like no other, I would have so much apprehension and anxiety going into rehearsal each day.

Now that may sound so awful and you may be asking yourself, “sweetie, why didn’t you just quit?” Well, I can answer that very simply, it all proved to be worth it.

That year, not only did I have the hardest time ever, I also contributed to playing for an amazing football team, placing high at competitions, and marching in a national parade in DC! So here’s my thank you to Mr. Russell, Mr. Smith, and the lovely Mrs. Brown. Thank you for teaching me that I am stronger than I think. Thank you for giving me some amazing memories and for making me feel completely home at this temporary home which will always have a place in my heart.

And last but not at all least, from sophomore year to this year I’ve been at home in the Braswell Band. The number of times I’ve spent laughing, crying, rejoicing, and working in this band can’t even begin to describe the love that I have it. Here I’ve met some of the best mentors and friends.

Mr. Sitzman has been my rock. He has been more than just a director, he has been my confidant, my cheerleader, and honestly one of my friends. I am proud to be attending his college in the fall, a fact I make sure to tell everyone because he’s just that cool. Much love to you, T-Sitz.

Mr. Lennox has been with me at Braswell since the beginning. He makes every rehearsal so much fun and has taught me so many things from how to program a metronome to the best dad jokes you’ve ever heard. Mr. Lennox is an inspiration and a true model to loving your job and doing everything to the fullest extent. You are the unsung hero of every band in the Braswell Zone and I really don’t know what I or anyone else would do without you.

You know the old saying “iron sharpens iron?” That’s Mr. Snipes. He is a perfectionist and a true number 3. (If you know, you know.) He has pushed me and pushed me to what I believed was my very end. He has also helped this program in many ways by expanding our color guard, giving us amazingly designed shows, and providing that big head of his to dream up beautiful props and visions for the program. You’re the fire heating up the band, Snipes. Thanks for pushing me so hard, I became a diamond.

I have so many people (directors, parents, and peers alike) to thank for my experience in this activity. Every one of them has shaped, challenged, or inspired me to be my best. If you or anyone you know is in the band or is thinking about doing it, I can promise you it is well worth every cent, tear, and cheer.

Thanks, mom and dad for showing up and letting me drain your wallets and time for seven amazing years. And a special thank you, directors, for everything. I will remember my experiences in your programs forever.