Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Evanston, Ill., for Northwestern University’s Homecoming weekend. Like many bands, my alma mater has the great tradition of inviting alums to perform on the field during pregame and halftime. I hadn’t marched in nine years, so I was looking forward to breaking out my instrument and dusting off my old band jacket.
Two days before departing, our hotel called to say that it had flooded from a burst pipe. Somehow we managed to pack eight bags for a four-day weekend. I’m pretty sure that security thought my flute was some sort of weapon. And worst of all, we had forgotten my 3-year-old son’s favorite stuffed animal.
Although my travel woes may sound absurd, they’re just a few examples of the millions of things that can go wrong when leaving the comforts of your hometown. I can only imagine the anxiety that band directors feel taking hundreds of young adults on a plane. Or the trepidation that security agents experience scanning instruments, flags, sabers, rifles and shakos through the X-ray machines.
Band directors and students certainly have their fair share of tales whether they’re going to an away game, state competition or festival halfway around the world. We’ve chronicled some travel memories in this issue’s “On the Road Again,” page 16. We also share the journey of one student who marched in last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, page 21. And we tell the tales of top high school bands who have gone to Bands of America and US Scholastic Band Association national championships, page 24.
As for us, we had a fantastic time during our trip to Chicagoland despite the early missteps. I was amazed that I could still march 8-to-5 and that I could play while high-stepping—at least some of the time.
And we will fondly remember how much our son enjoyed being a “Wildcat.” He carried around a wildcat balloon animal all weekend, “sang” the fight songs and growled almost as loud as the entire student section. Last but not least, the game—won in typical “Cardiac ’Cats” fashion—will earn us bragging rights forever and probably go down in history as a Big Ten classic.
Safe Travels and Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Photo by William C. Tempelmeyer. All rights reserved.