Being a band mom brings bundles of joy to parents and kids alike.
I have to confess … I have always wanted to be a band mom—not because my mom was a super-involved band parent; quite the opposite.
My own parents had a “divide-and-conquer” strategy to raising me. Dad went to all of my concerts, mom to the parent-teacher conferences. It ended up being two nights a year apiece—at first.
But once I hit high school, rehearsals were after school, and each ensemble had its own concert. Not only was Dad going to two choir concerts and two band concerts, but he was also driving me home from rehearsals, football games, and contests. (No wonder I was pulled out of class on my 16th birthday to get my driver’s license!)
It wasn’t until my senior year after much shaming from Mom’s best friend (who was a band mom too) that she attended more of my performances. And, lo and behold, both parents made the trek for parents’ weekend each year of my college career to see me march.
I was determined to not have my children suffer the same fate as mine. So my path to band momdom was simple: I just had to birth at least one child who was talented enough to play an instrument used in the marching band, live in a school district with a strong music program, ensure that said child stuck with it through 8th grade, and, boom! I would be golden. Simple, right? Well, it’s not really that easy. But I had an ace up my sleeve.
I am fortunate to have a strong band alumni organization at my alma mater, Northwestern University, and my section The Tenors (yes, “the” is capitalized!) really took off as a unique and bonded section after I graduated. One day, one of them contacted me to inquire about a detail of Tenor history of which I happened to have insider knowledge. I discovered that even though I had graduated, I was a useful resource! And since I never miss a Homecoming (going on 24 years now), I get to hang out with these new friends from a different “generation” on a regular (albeit infrequent) basis.
Once daughter #1 was born, she came along on the Homecoming trips. She attended rehearsals, wooed current students and alums alike with her charm, and even marched in a couple of pregame shows. When a Tenor was travelling through our area, they would visit us. Marching band became a culture that my daughter saw up close and personal since birth and even prior. I went to Homecoming 2000 when I was nine months pregnant with her, so she heard the countermelody to the fight songs quite clearly even in utero.
Imagine the surprise when this child’s first instrument was violin! The next year, though, she took up alto saxophone as well. To this day she still plays both instruments as well as singing in our church’s youth choir.
In her fourth grade year, her long-awaited dream of being a big sister came true. She would lie her baby sister down on the floor just under her chair and serenade her with her elementary-level band and orchestra repertoire.
As for me? I patiently drove her to and/or from rehearsals, went to almost every single concert, and before I knew it, she was a rising freshman in high school. I enthusiastically attended my first music parent meeting in June of my firstborn’s 8th grade year. I volunteered immediately to serve as secretary for the incredibly amazing Music Parents Association. I started helping at the concession stands. And this past year, I became uniform mom as well as a roadie for the pit.
Unwittingly, my younger daughter is now fully immersed in marching band culture as well, helping out as a roadie. She also imitates the drum majors as they conduct and is convinced that she is the color guard captain. In fact, she asks me if she can “sit with her section” during football games!
I’m not just my kid’s band mom but also a band mom to all the kids. Uniform moms get to know everyone eventually since at some point every single band member needs a snap, button, plume, hat, or glove fixed or replaced.
I love it. And, secretly, I think my daughters do, too.
About the Author
Kristy Deischer-Eddy is an administrative assistant for a Pennsylvania municipality and owns her own photo organizing business. She marched Tenor saxophone with the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band from 1989 to 1992 and hasn’t missed a Homecoming yet.
Photos courtesy of Kristy Deischer-Eddy. Left: Daughter Deidre prior to her first football game in uniform for the Downingtown East High School in 2015. Right: Daughter Kasey testing out the drum major stepladder in 2016.