Tuesday's Band Memories

Where our band room was located


Bell Lyre


Good evening to ya'll. I still have some hot coffee, so come on in for a cup or if you would like some iced tea, have some of that also. Just come on in the house and sit a spell. By the way, how's your mama, daddy and the rest of the folks? Sure hope they are all well and Aunt Sue? I sure hope her arthritis is not hurting her too bad with this cool weather and all.

Did I ever tell you about all three of us children being in the Wilcox County High School band? Well I began the tradition by playing the bell lyre. I was in the 7th grade and our band director Mr. Schosser asked me one day didn't I play the piano? Now I had been taking for a couple of years from Mrs. Barnett so I could read music and that was about all he needed to know. He didn't have anyone to play the bells, so I was drafted.

Now you can see from the picture above that it was a rather large instrument weighing about 200 lbs. and had to be carried by me who weighed about 95 lbs. They didn't really weigh 200 but it felt like it sometimes. So, I joined the band at a late date, for most members began in the 4th grade. This made it little hard to catch up but they were patient with me.

Mr. Schlosser was desperate and I could read music, could tote that thing and wanted to get out of taking PE. So an interesting time began for me. One of the biggest hurdles for me was learning to march by stepping off on my right foot, you know the other right foot, the one on the side of the body which has the hand that does not make an "L." To say I was a challenged in knowing my right foot from my left was and is an understatement. But after marching every day for several weeks and learning how to make the formations, I began to think this might be fun after all.

There were several perks if you were in the band. Number one, you could attend all the ball games for free and wear a cool blue uniform which was hot as the devil in warm weather for it was wool. You didn't have to take PE class for 4 years for band could be substituted for this class, you know the marching and all. This was wonderful for me for I didn't do well in softball, volley ball, basketball or any of those other ball type games.

You have to know that I could not see without my glasses, I was a little squirt and would rather read than play with a ball. I think the PE teacher was glad not have to figure out what to do with me. The other problem was dressing out in the locker room which wasn't all that much fun when you had a figure like a stick and most of the other girls had boobs and butts. Kinda embarrassing!

The best perk of all was the bus rides on the trips! We would sing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and lot of other silly songs I can't remember. When it was cold, you would snuggle under a blanket with your seat mate and that is all I am going to say about that for my son and daughter and grandchildren read this blog and I sure don't want to blow my perfect image they have of me. That pedestal is high and I want to keep it that way.

Four years later, my brother Arvin followed in my footsteps by joining the band playing the coronet. This is like a trumpet and he did like to blow that thing. It was especially painful when he was learning how to play for some strange sounds came from that horn. Our poor dog would howl with pain as Arvin would practice.

Now I couldn't bring my bells home but had to practice piano and Arvin had to blow his horn. I can hear mama now saying, "We paid good money for those instruments and you are going to practice!" So we would and we became quite good. Arvin loved to play and he was good. He was the lead trumpet his last year if not before and he knew his right foot from his left.

By now, I am in college, but brother Sam followed in our steps by playing the trombone and playing it extremely well. He played his way through University of Southern Mississippi on a scholarship with their band. He marched right behind the Dixie Darlings and admired the scenery.

He was also the first male drum major for the Wilcox County High marching band. This meant he also directed the band and this became the love of his life. He would sit at the eating table and direct music with his fork while the music played in his mind. It was against the rules to sing at the table or hum. Never could figure that one out and also I could not read a book at the table - strange.

Now it wasn't easy for Arvin and Sam to be in the band for we had a small school and they were big, strapping boys and Coach McKelvey thought they should be playing football like a good Southern boy. Now our daddy stood right up to that little man and told him that football wouldn't help them a whole lot after high school, but music could be enjoyed for a lifetime. Go daddy!

He was right for I still play the piano, some, and Sam is playing his trombone in a local band in Arlington, TX. Our brother Arvin is playing and singing in heaven with mama for our Lord. So daddy was right, music is for a lifetime.

I am so glad that mama and daddy made the sacrifices to give us music lessons, buy us a piano and musical instruments for we enjoyed it then and we still appreciate good music. We also appreciate those many years of them being band parents, working in the concesion stands and attending all those football games. It is a joy and a wonderful way to express yourself. Thank you mama and daddy.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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