The Awful Sound of Summer Approaching

posted in: blog, family, kids, music, parenting, school | 0

Well, it’s June and in these parts of New England that means school is coming to an end.

Seems late, and a lot of other places in the country let out way before we do. I know because I often get people from the southern states asking “Why are you out so late?”

I find this funny because people in the southern states don’t realize that here, in New England, the snow typically doesn’t melt until mid-August. This gives our children roughly 8 days of sunny weather in which to play around outside.

On that point, my kids ask me every year if we are going to get a pool. I then like to point out that their summer lasts for roughly 9 weeks here as night temps dip into the 50’s, so spending thousands of dollars on a giant vat of standing water that may get upwards of 75 degrees on a good day seems stupid. Then I make them watch Poltergeist and by the time all the dead bodies are springing up out of the inground pool they’re okay with just running through a sprinkler for 5 minutes.

The more you know.

But the end of the school year also brings dread to many parents. Most of these parents are the stay-at-home kind and faced with the prospect of having to entertain children 24×7 and listening to I’M BORED ALREADY and THERE IS NOTHING TO DO and WHY DON’T WE HAVE A POOL and I DON’T WANT TO WATCH POLTERGEIST AGAIN.

The other parents who fear the end of school are like me.

Band parents.

Both of my boys (my son and stepson) are in their school’s band. My son is in 7th grade and my stepson is in 5th grade so this means I have to attend TWO end-of-the-year band concerts.

Keep in mind that because we live in a fairly cool climate, none of our schools have air conditioning so typically a school band concert consists of 100 loud kids and 200 annoyed parents huddled together in an un-air-conditioned gymnasium as the temperatures rise to upwards of 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Luckily, though, most gymnasiums have at least one ceiling fan 4-feet in diameter spinning on low speed at the center of the gym about 60 feet in the air so that helps tremendously.

Then the playing starts.

The thing about school band concerts is that every single song sounds like whales having angry sex.

The 7th grade band is a bit better than the 5th grade band, so the whales seem just a bit less agitated. There’s probably still some fin-pulling and maybe some foreplay involving the blowholes happening but it still sounds like whale sex.

This year the 5th grade band was also accompanied by a string section. The string section was a group of kids who were taught separately and came into the gymnasium all wearing black pants and white shirts for the boys and the girls were all sporting black and white dresses. Very fancy and high class.

On the other side of the gym was the general 5th grade band that appeared to look like they had pulled their clothes from the $1.50 bin at the Dollar Store. Still better looking than they usually are for school, but seriously way under-dressed compared to the string section. It was like looking at a live representation of a caste system but with more flutes.

In contrast my son’s 7th grade band performed honorably and sounded pretty good considering they had two more years of playing time than the 5th graders. Of course my son plays drums (as does my stepson), and it’s there you can actually see the difference in musical attitudes:

Flute players: Sitting upright patiently.
Saxaphone players: Holding their instruments and well-focused.
Drum players: Sword fighting with drumsticks.

Luckily the concerts were actually pretty short and overall I lost almost 5 lbs in water weight just from sweating during the performances.

You know, a pool would have been refreshing after that.

Great. I’m going to have to watch Poltergeist again to talk me out of it.