• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
This area does not yet contain any content.
« On Being Busy | Main | Save TBDBITL! »

Hearts Rebounding Thrill

Band rehearsal warm-ups this afternoon began as they never have in the past four months. Assistant Director Jon Waters raised his baton and said: "Last three notes of 'Carmen Ohio.'"

This was a fairly major Integrity Kick Moment because, you see, it actually needed to be rehearsed, for it is actually going to be played on Saturday.  As of 48 hours ago, it was not.  Partially in thanks to you, that is no longer the case, and the song which is an installment of the pre-game ritual shall remain.


Occasionally the directors ask the Band to lower their instruments and sing their parts so as to emphasize tonality, breath control, timing, and harmony.  And they become a choir.  And this too is beautiful music, bar on bar, voice on voice.

"Now play."

I hear the same songs a lot.  I am never tired of them, because I know that soon I won't ever hear them again... out of tinny computer speakers, maybe, or on a CD, but never again live from this specific group of people.  But the repetitions I hear are nothing when measured against those who create them.  When I return to my little temporary hole in the wall to type and grade, the bandsmen drag their instruments out of the rehearsal room and down the hall or up the stairs to practice what they just practiced, until eleven, midnight, one AM. 

No, I am not tired of these songs.

With the exception of performances of "Eternal Father," when the Band sings in rehearsal, it does so with a whole lotta "ba ba baaaaa"s and "da da daaaaa"s, even when the song has lyrics.  These are, after all, instructional moments for an instrumental band, not Glow Bowling Night Karaoke. 

But today, everyone sang the lyrics.

Everyone sang the lyrics. 

I did not attend or graduate from Ohio State, and so out of respect for actual students and alums, I avoid singing along to "Carmen", except twice:  Once towards the end of this Summer Session when Greg Eyer saw me hanging back from the swaying groups of students and pulled me into the circle.  And again this afternoon.

"Carmen Ohio," as Ohio State's alma mater, is the most solemn of the school songs in the Band's repertoire.  Even before I heard the music, I knew the words; earlier this year, I tipped my head back as I walked through the lobby of Ohio Union to read the lyrics painted near the ceiling:  "Summer's heat or winter's cold.... The seasons pass the years will roll..."

It was a sunny day in February; I was stripping off my gloves and on my way through the atrium to make the acquaintance of this Jason Stuckert person.

Since then, Miss Carmen has run off with increasingly larger pieces of my heart for other reasons. Maybe, simply through endless repetition in dorm rooms and on the field and in the rehearsal room, members of the Band do grow weary of the same sets of notes, the meaning of the song breaking through only on days like today and games like tomorrow's, the last home stand of the season.  And I understand how that might happen.  Repetition in small does breeds tradition and comfort; in larger ones, it's a recipe for frustration and boredom.

But on this afternoon, when everyone sang, it brought relief. 

EmailEmail Article to Friend