December 14, 2010

Confessions of a band geek

Rita, in comments to the post below, could not believe I did not have March of the Marionettes (Alfred Hitchcock Theme) in my top ten list. You see, I am scarred for life because of that song. So I will tell the story of why I cannot put that TV Theme into my top ten list.

I have  confession. I was once a band geek. I played the trombone, but not very well. I was part of the marching band, the pit band for the high school musicals we produced, the stage band (big band music), and I played in the brass section of the orchestra. Yes, my little high school actually had an orchestra.

If you ever spent time in band you know there is pressure to compete in the State solo and ensemble contests. Four of us trombone players decided to form a quartet and compete. The song we chose was March of the Marionettes (Alfred Hitchcock Theme). In all honesty, the song was not hard to play, the difficulty was each part came in at different times, each in turn playing a subtle counter-melody. Timing was key. The four of us actually got pretty good on the song. A first place was a given, according to our bandleader and fellow band geeks. We even played at a local church during services to great acclaim.

The day arrived for contests. We were typical high school band geeks. We thought we were cool, and were cocky for no reason at all. We went into the classroom at some school (three decades have blurred that memory). The judges sat in the back and we stood in the front of the classroom , near the chalkboard.

We began to play: dooop da diddle da doop da doop. And first trombone began to giggle. He could not stop. Soon we all were laughing. We stopped and asked to begin again. We gathered to compose ourselves.  First trombone told us what had cracked him up. We started again. Third trombone began to laugh. Soon we all lost it again. This time we only got about six bars into the song. (I will not tell you which part I played in this drama).

The judges told us to leave and come back after the next group.  We waited in the hallway, giving each other stern pep talks. Our second chance came. We made it through the song, but all of us were laughing at various times. We were horrible.

The scores were later posted and we got a third place. None of the group was surprised. The  second trombone stuck his head into the judge's room and asked "What does it take to get a fourth place anyway?" We all nearly died in hysterics. Like I said, we were just a bunch of band geeks.

Fellow band members were shocked, the band leader pissed. "You guys were so good, how could the judges screw you like that?" We explained that one of the judges was a fat, older bald guy. He looked remarkably like Hitchcock himself. The irony was too much. Hitchcock liked to put himself into cameo roles in all of his films, and a cameo as a judge was too delicious. The notion cracked us all up.

Perhaps you had to be there.

Anyway, that is my story. And here is the song, played correctly:


5 comments:

dragonlady474 said...

Oh man, that would be embarrassing. My husband's students are all band geeks so I know how all that goes.

Ralphd00d said...

As a fellow band geek, I actually found this a little funny. I am sure had I been with your group, I would have been cracking up with you. There's something ... perverse, about band member humor and times for outbreak. Especially when it comes to Low Brass players!!

Rita said...

That IS hilarious, but I wouldn't dismiss Snicker Doodles as a great cookie even though the stupid 4H lady wouldn't let me go to Riverside because I made those for the fair instead of a drop cookie. (I'm sure that's a fair analogy to support my opinion, er I mean facts)

Hearing Hitchcock end the first video with "Gooood Even(en)ing" only supports that I am right and you are wrong.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Perfect story, HB!

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