The Smithville High School Booster Club Marching Band

The OLWG prompts this week are: One of my favorites; What could go wrong?; Bandleader


untitled-1.pngI had to laugh when my friend told me Erin McMurray applied to be the Smithville High School Booster Club Marching Bandleader. Erin may have only been fifth chair clarinet in her Junior High School orchestra and last chair once she got to High School, but she doesn’t see why any of that matters. Nothing she does, or doesn’t do, or can’t do, which is more to the point, will make the band any more awful than it already is.

The Smithville High School Booster Club Marching Band isn’t a marching band so much as an excuse for a good time and to make a lot of noise. The members are a motley crew of goofballs from the drama club, a few alumni, kids that didn’t make cheerleader, drill team, or orchestra, and rock-n-roll wannabes whose only musical instruction is Guitar Hero. For the last thirty years, the school staff liaison is old Mr. Gleason, the Chemistry teacher. His claim to musical acumen is piano lessons at the age of three (not from the age of three, mind you, but at the age of three, which is approaching seven decades ago now). The kids with the kazoos are my favorites, primarily because they are the only ones with any rhythm or who can play in key.

The band plays at all the football games, of course, making happy fools of themselves, and, depending on how many members were passed over for cheerleader on any given year, taunting the cheer squad. They attend other school events, too. They “opened” one year at Prom and every so often a graduating class will invite them to usher them into the stadium for graduation ceremonies. They’ll show up at the swim meets and tennis matches, if you let them. One year, the band went to the school district’s debate club tournament, when Smithville High was the host school. They were shooed out of the commons hall by an irate judge, but not before they blasted Mrs. Weston’s sophomore team with their peculiar  rendition of Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

The be-and-end-all fun is watching the band “compete” in the the district-wide Marching Band Invitational. It is not to be missed. The other bands are really something else, so it’s a riot to see Smithville pretend they got game against bands that have been invited to play halftime at professional games, march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and in the Rose Parade. Smithville band’s only invitation has been to participate in the county’s Spring Fling Bacchanal Parade. Actually, only alumni members over the age of 21 get to go to the county Spring Fling. The “bacchanal” aspect of that parade is taken a bit too literally by many of the participants, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I don’t know whom Erin McMurray is up against for bandleader, but I think she’d be fantastic. She’s got bright pink hair and nothing to lose. Being such a tiny thing, they’ll have to put her on stilts in order to even see her, but I think a Smithville Marching Bandleader on stilts is a perfect addition to the crazy chaos. I look forward to seeing her strut her stuff!


Did not write this in the 25-minutes allowed. It was another one that had me stumped until I just started writing. Don’t think! Write! 

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