As the back to school season approaches, my memories return to the summertime activities of the NBHS marching band in the middle 1970s.
At the end of each school year, the NBHS marching band spent a day at Cedar Point. Wearing our summer uniforms consisting of black shorts, white shirt, orange vest, and a string bow tie, we marched around the park in the morning and were able to spend the rest of the day on the rides with our friends. This was definitely the highlight of the marching band calendar!
Once school ended, the interest in marching band lagged a bit as the marching band participated in a couple parades in not-so-exotic locations such as Fostoria, Ada, and Holgate. Band members were also supposed to attend one optional evening band practice per week in June and July. Attendance was spotty at best because summer was full of vacations, part-time jobs, and mostly fictional excuses for absences.
As summer wound down, it was time for band camp: a weeklong practice of music and marching to prepare for the fall football games. I can clearly remember 1974, my first NBHS band camp. We spent most of the day at Powell School, eight steps to every five yards. We practiced the music indoors in the small gymnasium. We also spent a lot of time learning to march on the Powell School playground. During a gap between football practices, we transitioned to the football field and marched there. The changeover to the football field was my favorite part because as an eighth grader, I was able to ride in the cars of high school band members who could drive. Apparently liability wasn’t an issue in 1974.
Band camp was always packed with drama. There was angst surrounding the selection of squad leaders, the person in charge of a group of three other band members on the field. Also, band camps happen during notoriously hot weather so there was concern about becoming overheated, sun burnt, or dehydrated. Then there was the worry about being prepared to march at the first football game.
Luckily, the band camp drama was trumped by the amount of enjoyment we were having spending a week together. The best thing about marching band was the multi-age component. As an eighth grader marching in the NBHS band, we were exposed to students from grades 9 –12. Marching band has a way of breaking up cliques; rather than clumping with our age peers, we were spending most of our time with the other members of our band squad. Band camp was a time for new friends and new experiences.
In hindsight, it really didn’t matter how the 1974 NBHS marching band performed on the field. Memories of the music we played or the routines we performed are long gone, but we still remember how much fun we had at band camp, on the band buses, marching at Cedar Point, and the friends we made in band. For me, some of my closest adult friends were my band friends first. #Priceless