Today I'm interviewing two of my nieces, both clarinetist at American Fork High Marching Band. This past year they went to Nationals in Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts play. They've also played for the Macy's Day Parade, The Rose Bowl Parade, The Inaugural Parade (for Bush), been state champions for over 20 years, and won regionals 4 out of the 6 past years.
Rachel in a few words: 18, cute, (we're basically twins--she and I), headed to BYU in the fall, pianist, work at Wendy's, taking 4 AP classes in her senior year
Jessica: 15, perfected the art of speaking in random accents, right now she's speaking in Gru from Despicable Me, finishing her 10th grade year, favorite subject is English, goofy, obsessed with LOTR
Jessica, why did you do marching band? Well…I've been watching it since Sean did it (2006) and I always thought it was super cool. The music is my favorite part, but I loved the precision of the team.
Rachel, tell me about getting ready for the season: We start practices in May and we have about 10 hours a week on a typical week throughout the whole summer and we have a parade camp and band camp we also attend. The band camp is an entire week in Delta where we learn our show. Competitions start in September and we practice daily, perfecting our dots.
Jessica, tell me about these dots, I'm always hearing about. The dot is your spot in a certain moment in the show. Every person has a dot number which tells you your coordinates every eight counts or so in relation to the yard lines and the hashes.
Rachel, would you say that by the end of the season you could do your show blindfolded? I could do it, but not perfect, blindfolded.
So, to do band, you have to not only be able to play music, but you have to be able to count, to walk or run, sometimes backwards, while wearing a hot, heavy uniform. Did you pick the clarinet instead of the tuba because it's lighter? In part, yeah. And also clarinet is cooler. Why? Because the people that play clarinet are super great. They're more funny in a mature way and less likely to do drugs.
So, even in AF in the middle of Utah, some of the banders do drugs? (Rachel) Well… maybe like two out of 250.
Wow, that's a lot of people. How does your band directer keep everyone together? And have you ever lost anyone at competition? Mostly we have drum majors and section leaders that keep track of their section. For instance, our section has 3 section leaders and we have 30 clarinet players. We've never left anyone, but we have misplaced people (and instruments) before.
How much water do you drink during a practice? In the middle of the summer we're probably gulping 1-2 liters during water breaks. So you're saying you sweat a lot during practice? Yep. So do you stink a lot after? Do you have to shower? Yep.
Rachel, tell me about your favorite books. Lately I've been reading a lot of classics for English, such as Crime and Punishment and Wuthering Heights. Those are kind of hard, but I enjoy them. I love romance novels, historical fiction, and inspirational stories (like Tuesdays with Morrie). I love some fantasy (Harry Potter all the way!) and some futuristic (Hunger Games). Some other favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Book Thief, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and Goose Girl. I'm excited for summer to have more time to read! :)