Not a wedding band, or a rock band. I misplaced the entire school band a few weeks ago. Ever have a day that starts off a little rough and then the Fickle Finger of Fate appears and things go from stressful to absurd? That was my day a few months ago.
You see, I was filling in for the orchestra conductor. He had an out-of-town clinic he needed to attend, and he knows that I understand enough music not to lead his students into trouble (much), so he left me a stack of scores and some instructions. What he did not tell me was that on Wednesdays, the band moves from the band room into the orchestra room, for reasons I do not know. What I did know was the students came in, got their instrument cases (orchestra) and disappeared.
“Where are you going?”
“The band room. The band’s in here.” Well, that was certainly true, because you cannot miss a saxophone and a drummer warming up. I collected my music and followed Orchestra 1 into the band room, which is smaller than the orchestra room. I set the students to individual practice (per instructions) and returned to the orchestra room to find a metronome. The band was doing the band thing, without a band teacher. This is not good. We are not to leave students unattended. On the other hand, as long as I could hear the band, I knew where they were and that they were not up to mischief. So I returned to the band room, checked on the orchestra students, and went back and forth around a corner and down the hall for several minutes.
Did I mention that I’d woken up with a headache? I am trapped in the band room with Orchestra 1, which includes some kids who are still a little rough in note precision and tone quality. The temperature is in the upper 70s because the A/C can’t quite keep up with that many bodies energetically playing stringed instruments. And my head is screaming. Someone closed the outside door to keep the sound in. After a few more minutes I went back to check on the band.
They were gone, instruments, music, and all! I stood in the doorway and stared. I’d lost the band! Where were they? Had they been Raptured? (OK, probably not, but this is a religious school . . .) How could they get out of the building? Should I go tell the guardian of the door that I’d just lost 20 students and all their instruments? How do you sneak a Sousaphone out the door anyway? But I couldn’t leave the orchestra alone. Where was the band?!? After taking a deep breath and reminding myself that my job was orchestra, not hunting down someone else’s students, I went back to the band room.
For the rest of the period I valiantly tried to keep the beginning orchestra on track, or at least within sight of the track. They could not hear the little metronome once they started playing, and they were not used to following my hand. (They have a Giant Loud Ticking Thing to follow in the orchestra room. It is not portable.) Should I take them back to the orchestra room now that the bad had vanished? Or would that totally disrupt the kids? I ended up keeping them where they were, as I wondered what the heck had happened to the band.
I found out after school. A Sousaphone player sauntered into the orchestra room (where her instrument case was). “Oh yeah, Miss Red, Mr. Jones was waiting in the auditorium the whole time because it is more like where we will be for contest next week. He came and got us.”