Today we had "Uncle Rowland" ("guy who founded the circuit we compete in" says the music director) come down and do a marching band clinic with us! This results in 3 hours of marching band and sacrificing a period of P.E. and part of a free period with a teacher I don't particularly like. I'll take that deal any day! :D
We spent two hours on marching alone. Mostly a whole bunch of drills where individual rows march at different paces so that we learn how to align ourselves better with those next to us, and then we did the same thing with columns so that we take notice of the spacing between the person in front and behind us. "Uncle Rowland" was a strict old guy (snow white hair, folks!) but he didn't really have a scary demeanor or anything, he cracked some jokes and when he helped you, he just kind of went up to you and made a remark rather than yelling straight at you. He yelled if it was the whole band at fault. :P He had an interesting catchphrase too..."Hoorah!" which is like "Hooray" (now that I see it typed out but he said it in a very amusing way) whenever we did something well. Also something slightly different we did was that we always replied with a "Yes sir!" to his every command. By the end of it, it was so ingrained in us to reply something back that when he said "Hoorah!" we all replied back the same thing without thinking. xD
The last hour we spent inside working on the march itself. We were berated for not having tuners and made a few changes to the march itself. I don't wish to be mean but it was pretty satisfying to see two 2nd clarinet players get bumped down to 3rd. One of them should have been playing the base clarinet part anyways. The other one was someone who barely came to any of our morning rehearsals. (She's a cheerleader too. I actually don't have a cheerleader bias/stereotype but my section leader does and it's really funny whenever we talk about this person because my section leader will never fail to mention her cheerleader status. xD) So now we have 2 people on first clarinet, 2 people on second, 3 on third, and the other 4 (new players) on the base clarinet part. We only have 1 real base clarinet player.
~ Among the first things Uncle Rowland did as part of our little workshop was to reorganize the band. I'm not sure what formula he was following but he'd move some instruments around, make us play a few measures, then switch us around again. Apparently it makes us sound different every time. Well, he's the expert.
Because of this switching around, the clarinets were moved back to the last two rows. :( Then, later on, he asked for one 1st clarinetist and 1st flute player to come up to the front rows. So we said goodbye to our section leaders and that was that. Then yet again, he called for one more flute player and one more clarinet player to move to the front. The whole section knew that of course we'll send our last 1st clarinet player up so we said goodbye to him. By this time I was feeling nervous because now our row was clear of experienced players -- all freshmen and one sophomore cheerleader -- so if we screwed up our marching...we'd really screw up. But then our music director called me up and placed me...right in the front, by the two other first clarinetists! I was so shocked and pleased at the same time. After all, I'm not the only second clarinetist, there's one more who I believe is equally good. And two other people have seniority over me (albeit one is a cheerleader, the other just started playing this year.) So really, by moving me up there, the teacher has acknowledged that I have skill to represent the second clarinet section and to play up there with my seniors, the first clarinetists! I try really hard not to be boastful and all, but this makes me overjoyed!!
No more clarinets were repositioned after that.
EDIT: PUZZLES! :D