When I finally entered high school, all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap. I’d get my homework done, watch TV, gorge myself with whatever was in the pantry or take routine trips to the fridge, thinking that something new would pop up every time I opened the door. My friends were always busy with sports or their jobs or with their boyfriends/girlfriends. And then there were the ones that were going to marching band or practicing their NYSSMA solos. The quirk to pick up my flute every now and again, just to relieve my boredom became automatic over several days, and after the chaotic mess that was my ninth period art class, I ended up joining band again just for the heck of it.
Fast-forward to the middle of January of my sophomore year. Pit Orchestra for Anything Goes! Was starting up and after careful planning the articulated, well-educated, suck up speech a fifteen-year-old child who wishes to throw away the key to her social life for a month and a half stuck in a hole in the ground (literally), I began playing the flute music (which, alternately, was violin music due to the fact the flue wasn’t really called for in the jazzy pit Anything Goes! offered.) From them on in, I spent my after school sessions with the band kids, going on Slurpee runs with the seniors, getting help on homework from the upperclassmen, and eating with the cast, crew, and pit in the tech room transformed into a dining room, for the most part.
I’ve been in the pit orchestra for the remainder of my high school career playing the flute for Beauty and the Beast, my junior year, and West Side Story, as principle flute for my senior year. Alumni from each year tend to come back and visit and it’s like seeing an older brother or sister, a sibling I never had since I’m the eldest in my family, visit from college. The ones that had impacted me through ever spring show, the ones that left, and the ones that I will leave, all made a huge impression on my during not just my high school career but my musical career.
On the last show, when we huddle up for Poo-Wa-Bah’s, our good luck chant, we gave a round of applause to our Director, our Conductor, and the Stage Hands. It was an emotional time for us seniors but I didn’t feel the tears break me, at least not yet. When my friend, Brittany, turned to me, while hugs were being issued by cast, crew, and pit, and said, with tears in her eyes, “I’m glad you came back to music, Court.” That was when everything flooded. Because if I never took up music, never came back to the flute, I’d have never understood what kind of family I’d been a part of for all these years.