SON, DO YOU REMEMBER?
It's September! I love September. There's something so refreshing about the feeling of crispness that starts to return to the air in the mornings...even if I'm drowning in humidity by 9am, like today!
In celebration of a pretty great month, here's a fun little Liz anecdote.
As we all know, I'm a big-time band nerd. I go to DCI, I get all excited about the orchestra, and I was a proud member of the Band of the Fighting Irish in my college days. I also place a lot of significance in signs and serendipity. When my favorite song came on the radio as I visited my current apartment building for a tour, I knew it was meant to be. A few short weeks later, I was signing a lease. Imagine my delight when serendipity collided with my band obsession!
The last song I performed as a high school band member, and the first song I performed as a college band member, was "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire. In fact, EIGHT years ago today I made my college marching band debut at the Notre Dame - Georgia Tech game (a horrific 33-3 rout that set the tone for our 3-9 season...ouch!).
In high school, I played piano in our jazz band my senior spring, with so many great friends. Our director was a young former member of the University of Minnesota's drumline with a passion for jazz and a gift for teaching. We closed our spring concert with a version of "September" that still makes me smile. We were on fire...the synergy, improvisation and sheer joy of that performance makes my toes curl up. I think we all felt that way, which just added to the sense of magic on that stage.
Three months and some change later, I was far away from home and terribly homesick, overwhelmed with class loads and trying to make friends, and still getting my campus buildings mixed up more often than not. Band, for me, was an oasis of the calm and familiar in the midst of a disorienting transition to college life. Even though it was intense and demanding on a level I couldn't possibly have anticipated, I thrived on the order, the consistency, and the community. Even more exciting for me was getting to pull out "September" every day to practice the halftime drill...a song that I associated with one of the happiest, most positive experiences of my life in high school jazz.
The first football game...more importantly, my first pre-game and halftime performances...brought an entirely different feeling of magic. Eighty thousand people staring down and cheering you on in a wall of sound so all-encompassing it feels tangible? That can't be replicated. I spent most of my first performances grinning so hard, and trying so hard to stay in step and in line, that I think I played maybe one in five notes on my brand-new piccolo. Despite my lack of musicality, I felt the same sense of belonging, of total synergy, as I had back on that stage in May. I was simultaneously more aware of myself and more lost in the bigger entity than I think I'd ever been. As if I hadn't already fallen hook, line, and sinker madly-in-love with the Notre Dame Band, that feeling did me in.
So here's to September. To the "ba, doo-do, BA, doo-do," to pounding out that triple punch on a piano keyboard, to the sound of nearly 100 trumpets blasting to the pressbox. To eighty thousand people, seven years ago, whose roars of excitement on September 1, 2007 made one of the most special memories I've got in my arsenal. Here's to the band nerds, and to September...never was a cloudy day, indeed.