So here I am… this chubby 15 year old kid marching to percussion clicks with a smelly brass marching trombone and on the front row too. I was still scared to death of what was coming next. “Band camp is really hard”, they said. I was told there would be, “long hours on a football field in Fairmont WV”, “extreme heat”, and “seniors!” The several hours drive from my parents was more on my mind than anything else. I was scared to death but excited nonetheless because marching for Herbert Hoover High School was an honor not to be taken lightly.  Hoover had historically been the best band in Kanawha County in recent years and was arguably the best band in WV. I was a Hoover Groover now.

Scared to death. Left – Right – Left. Right. Click – Click. Click- Click.

After what felt like at least two miles of marching, we finally made to our home for the week. The brownish-green grass of Fairmont State College’s practice field. The whistle blew and the band director told us to break out into sections.

“Trumpets over there” – I am sure glad I am not with them anymore.
“Flutes and Clarinets, you go here.”
“Trombones, you guys stay right here.” Was that because he wanted to keep a close eye on us?
“Oh, and tubas / baritones, across the field.”

As crazy as it sounded then, I was a trombonist now — and one of four in the band that year.  We begin to introduce ourselves in the section. There were two sophomores and two seniors with one of those seniors having also been asked to switch from trumpet this year.  Seems we needed four in order to have a full front line of trombones. I also learned our nickname.  We were the Bone Studs.

While the introductions were going, I looked across the field at the tubas and the baritones and for the life of me I cannot remember anything else that happened this evening. She had curly hair and I was in love.

A 15 year-old’s crush had begun.

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