When I was six years old I joined a swim team where I was coached by the daughter of one of my mom’s closest friends. I idolized her. Everything she did, I attempted to do, though I didn’t always succeed. Eight years later, when I was getting ready to start high school, she told me I should join the marching band. She had done it herself and had just graduated from JMU, where she was a member of the Marching Royal Dukes, and offered me her piccolo “because they’re so much easier to march than flute.”
I asked her why she liked it so much and she told me that it was because of the people, the environment and the family that one becomes a part of. It was especially great in college, she told me, because I would start my freshman year with a whole group of people I already knew and who all shared one common interest, no matter what our different majors were: music.
But it was about more than just the music. Soon after our conversation, I had acquired both a piccolo nearly as old as myself and, like she said, a new group of people with whom I shared a common interest. My section welcomed me with open arms and I instantly clicked with so many others. It was almost like having another family, and I think anyone who is or has ever been a band kid will agree.
When it came time to apply for colleges, I knew I wanted to go somewhere with a marching band, because it had become such a big part of my life and I wasn’t sure what I would do without it. Band had connected me in more ways than I originally thought it would and I just knew that it was a chapter in my life that I wanted to continue.
When I saw my name on the list on the outside wall of the MVC, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. Almost immediately I began making connections within my section, especially within my rank.
Little did I know that the friendships band had given me would continue to grow. Not only did band connect me with people who shared an interest in music, but those who were dedicated to service as well. I never saw myself as a sorority girl, but when you find that group of people who are as committed as you are, it’s impossible to stay away. In less than a year, the sisters of Tau Beta Sigma have become some of my closest friends and I’ve formed bonds that I know will last a lifetime.
Although music is what had sparked my original interest in marching band, I stayed for so many more reasons. I stayed for the people, for the atmosphere, and for the friendships created along the way.