Saturday, March 29, 2014

One Time, At Band Camp...

What a crazy couple of weeks. Work has been busy. I had to do my taxes. My teen turned 20. Sniff, sniff.

Jackson Junior High School Band, circa 1976.
I really do feel this young. My hair is still funky too. Some things never change. Our Junior High School marching and stage band members try to meet up with our band director, JJ Walden, who we all love and remember. We've probably met with him six or seven times the 38 years since seventh grade. Did I say 38 years? Seems like yesterday, but I am happy not to march in parades carrying that ^^ heavy thing.

JJ Walden and Jane
Mr. Walden was huge inspiration to many students. His no-nonsense teaching techniques enabled many of us to learn musical skills. One of our old band members currently plays in the US Navy band and I think another member made music his profession.

Mr. Walden had the ability to control 50+ pubescent goofs with just a look. Some of those goofs pushed the limit, but Mr. Walden steered them in the right direction every time. Quickly. Many of us compare him to our fathers. We had deep respect for the man. And he could play every instrument, like he owned it. It was cool to see.

Under Mr. Walden's direction, we won several competitions in both marching and stage bands. We were quite talented. Ha! I played the glockenspiel (bells) with my friend Tina in the marching band. Double glockenspiels, can you imagine? I doubt JJ could either! Poor guy.

In stage band, I attempted the bass guitar. We also had concert and symphonic bands at the school that everyone played in. It was a great experience and I like to think Mr. Walden influenced thousands of students, not just our group who has kept in touch. He did say we're the only group that buys him lunch every few years. He still gives private lessons. Tina sent her son to him, so he continues to inspire.

The "kids" that couldn't be there left messages for Mr. Walden on Facebook (he has a fan club now). A small group of us band geeks have been friends since elementary school and still tease each other like seven year olds. Thankfully, we're past spitballs. That was a bad year. We're a bit older and thicker, but we still know how to party like band geeks. Can't wait until the next reunion.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! Your music teacher sounds like an AMAZING man and continual inspiration to many who learn music under his tutelage. I wonder if there is an award for music teachers, because he certainly deserves one!
    Also, loved the link to the mind-blowing time facts!


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