Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a lovely graduation disaster

The seniors of my high school graduated last Friday. Honestly, I didn't particularly want to be there, although I do have a small handful of senior friends. I'm in the band, however, so I had to be, and 
as a junior, that was the last time I played Pomp and Circumstance for twelve and a half minutes straight. Graduation is arguably the worst part about being in band. 

I've been to graduation for the past four years now. 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade. 8th and 10th because of an older brother graduating, and everything else for band commitments. So, frankly, I'm quite sick of the painfully traditional and nicely polished "graduation exercises," as they call it, that my school does slightly different each year. 

I have this beautiful image in my mind of a disaster graduation that I'd love to see someday, even if it was all an act. 

Here goes: 

Family, friends, faculty and students are all gathered on the football field for graduation. The ceremony has yet to begin. Everyone is nicely dressed as usual; typically the girls in the short dresses and wedges, and boys wearing slacks and shirts and ties, and the graduates have their royal blue caps and gowns on. People are taking pictures, talking, laughing. So far, so good. 

The principal walks up to the podium to start the ceremony, and the band starts to play Pomp and Circumstance as the seemingly endless line of seniors around the track starts to walk in step. 

The band is awful in every way imaginable. Everyone is horribly out of tune with each other, everyone's articulation and dynamics is varied and inconsistent, everyone's tone quality is atrocious, and the band isn't starting and stopping phrases together. Timing is completely out of control; the snare drummer isn't keeping a consistent beat and neither are the low brass playing straight quarter notes. No one is quite together; it's as if we are all playing our part with earplugs and blindfolds on, not watching for cues from the conductor or listening to those around us. 

It's a complete mess, and the seniors don't know when to step left and when to step right due to the confusing timing. The seniors in the front start franticly running to their seats, and their classmates follow behind them. Now everyone is running as if their life depended on it to find a seat in the senior section. People are tripping over each other, pushing and shoving; no one is in any kind of line or order anymore. They used to be in alphabetical order. Now, who knows how the diploma distribution will go. 

During all of this, there have been frequent on-and-off light rain. Just to annoy everyone, of course. It gets everyone damp enough to be irritated, but not damp enough to seek umbrellas or move graduation to the indoor gym. 

Congratulations, class of 2015. 

SWH