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Friday
May062011

Found 'Em

The Spring Athletic Band was in the process of justifying its existence by rehearsing for the Spring Game.  Jason The Ridiculously Young Drum Major was strutting out in front, as much as a Drum Major in an A-band rehearsal three weeks before tryouts is willing to strut, which is not very much.  As struts go, he was hanging out on the lido deck, boat drink in one hand and baton in the other.

Behind them sprawled Ohio State's science and hospital complex, which, I am sure, are very impressive, and also, I am sure, very ugly.  The rain was delightfully accented by temperatures in the low 40s, and steam rose from the little skyline, wafting past a crane that had stilled for the day.  The flat clouds, the tall towers, the Johnson administration aesthetics:  This is precisely what I shrank from when I chose my own college.  Saint Mary's had no neurology major.  It did have, however, shade.

I perched on an empty bleacher, watching the clarinets step out of the way of the trumpets.  Assistant Director Jonathan Waters had a megaphone, which he used only for good.  We were occupying the square basin of a concrete canyon, and the hard sharp corners of it threw the sounds back at us, sharp echos of bass and tenor.  

"Okay," he told them from atop a ladder.  "Best time yet."

They were playing the official rock song of the state of Ohio (priorities FTW!), "Hang on Sloopy."  "Sloopy" is kind of a big deal with this band; there are arm motions, and Drum Major twirling, and nobody knows the words to the verses.  As the music ricocheted through the little buckeye leaves in the grove and the big buildings across the way, students paused on their way to class and work, some forming an O-H-I-O with their arms at the proper point in the song, others heads still bent over iPhones.  But they all slowed down, they all huddled less.

Because what was happening, against that nasty melting sky and tangle of concrete, was utterly beautiful.

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