School Picture Day: Junior Band…

That's me in the middle...


You know that Sesame Street song that goes: “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same…”?  Well, that was me in my Junior High School Band photo (which was the only picture of me in our Grade 9 yearbook – I was absent the day they took the class photos).  I believe that we were told to wear a dark skirt.  I’m wearing what was probably the only skirt I owned…it was light blue, and I may have made it in Home Ec.  Since I almost never wore skirts, it didn’t occur to me to close my “chicken legs” (at least I wasn’t the only girl who didn’t think of it).  I had ordered a band sweater, but it didn’t come in time to wear it for the picture.  Notice the other girl in the front row without a sweater is also wearing buffalo sandals…it was not planned!

The blond boy at the end of the middle row on the left was one of my first boyfriends…his name was Steve, and he played the tenor and baritone saxophones (I still love sax today!).  He was sweet and funny!  His parents must have hated me though…I used to call him all the time (can you say “stalker”?).  I was sorry to hear in 1984 that Steve had been killed in a motorcycle accident…I wasn’t surprised however.  He’d always loved to go fast…I remember him scaring me one time when we went out in the motorboat at his family’s cottage.  Waterskiing was another one of his favourite things…he used to do tricks on one ski!

Our Band Director was Mr. Williams, or “Willy” as we called him.  Willy was committed to making us into decent musicians (if we didn’t cause him to be committed first!).  It’s a good thing we practiced in a soundproof room in the basement!  I remember Willy leaving the room on several occasions when he got exasperated with us!  He was hilarious to watch when he conducted, especially from the back!  He used to bounce up and down on his toes, and wave his arms around wildly when it was a fast song!

I played the flute.  My parents bought it for me on one of our trips to the States.  It took me a week to even get a sound out of it, but I was stubborn and kept at it until I did!  I was always “second flute” though…I could never narrow my airstream enough to hit the high notes.

Our repertoire included several classical pieces, as well as modern songs like “The Hustle” (the flute part was fun to play), “The Way We Were”, the theme from “Shaft”, the theme from M*A*S*H, and later on, the theme from Star Wars, which had just come out in theatres.  We always played “Pomp and Circumstance” at graduation too.

One of the best parts about being in the band was the social aspect: at our school, the jocks were the coolest, but the band kids were the second coolest (and usually the smartest).  We were strictly a concert band (which was good for me – I would have had trouble walking and playing at the same time).  We often travelled to local elementary schools to perform.  I enjoyed showing the little kids my flute and demonstrating how to play it.

I was in Junior Band for two years, and Senior Band for one…sadly, I couldn’t fit Grade 12 music into my schedule.

I have fond memories of my years in the bands.  I sold my flute 28 years ago to help pay off a student loan, but I bet I could still play!


Be sure to check out Ironic Mom, EduClaytion, Six Ring Circus, and Lessons from Teachers and Twits for their School Picture Day posts!


Filed under friends, memories

59 responses to “School Picture Day: Junior Band…

  1. Great memories Wendy! You were front and center so that has to mean something right?

  2. I love how you’re the one in the non-uniform!

    Wow. You cover the spectrum here, from wanting to fit in to young love and too-young death.

    Nicely done.

  3. This is awesome! I read that you were planning on doing this…great idea Clay! I may just have to see if I brought any of my yearbooks up here with me. If so, I know just the picture to post! Perhaps more than one? 😉

    You had quite the band…that’s an amazingly large group. Our band was only about 9 or 10 people…I guess by that point it was no longer cool to play real music???

  4. I would love to put a picture up, but alas, all my year books were ruined in a flood… 😦

    • That’s too bad, JTE…I wish I had my Grade 10 and 11 yearbooks…I only have them for Grade 9 and 12 because they were expensive, and my parents didn’t have much money. Wendy

  5. Jess Witkins

    I’m jealous of those chicken legs, Wendy! Hot cha cha!

  6. What fun memories, Wendy! I couldn’t play and march at the same time, either! That IS asking a lot–don’t you think–at least from a klutz like me!

  7. Lovely memories, Wendy! I played clarinet (sax in jazz band) through high school and had a band scholarship at university. Obviously, I enjoyed it immensely! Thanks for some good memories to start my day.

    • Thanks, Debbie! My mom and her sisters were all clarinet and/or sax players in their high school band. Mom went to university on a music scholarship, but only stayed a year because she got too homesick! Wendy

  8. The theme from “Shaft”! I love it!! (I also loved the rest of the post.)

  9. Great story! I love how, by error, you “shine” in the middle.

    I am/was a flute player, too. Loved it. And our band was considered cool as well. Sounds like you had an awesome school.

    • Thanks, Annie…I don’t think I ever thought of it as “awesome” at the time, but a lot of very successful people graduated from there over the years! Sadly, it was torn down in 2003…my brother salvaged a brick from it. Wendy

  10. Excellent! I think it is fitting that you ‘stand out’ in the photo. You still ‘stand out’ in a crowd, too! Buffalo shoes not required. 🙂

    I plan on signing our boys up for music lessons soon. Not sure what we’ll start with – they have guitars, so I guess that the obvious choice.

    Sorry to read about your crush dying in 1984. Clearly you still have the memories – even many years later. That’s a good thing. ~ Lenore

    • Thanks, Lenore! I’m “out standing in my field”…ha! Guitar sounds like a good thing to start with for music lessons…I started with piano lessons at age 5 (I’d been playing by ear since I was three). I taught myself to play guitar when I was about 10 (I’m not very good). My two younger daughters chose violin…that was unfortunate (for me!)…Anna did it for three years, but Hope only lasted about six months! Steve was a good guy…I felt bad for his fiance when he died (I didn’t know her). I’ve never ridden a motorcycle since though. Wendy

  11. I love that you were a band chick! Not for nothing, but I was “front and center” in many of my pictures. I made it a plan with a bunch of good friends to actually show up in as many school club photos as I possibly could my Senior Year. So I was am front and center as an active participant in Key Club (false), Chorus (false), Yearbook Staff (true), Pep Club (false), Hello Dolly (true), Students Against Drunk Driving (true), and – yes – cheerleading. I should have gotten “Best Poser” award.
    Here’s my link for others to enjoy!

  12. Great memory piece–it blew some cobwebs out of my brain! I was in th choir and there was huge rivalry between the band kids and the choir kids. You don’t want to see the pics!

  13. Being front and center makes your mismatch seem planned. 😉

    Loving all these walks down memory lane.

  14. I bet you could still play the flute too, Wendy! And I’m sorry to hear about your old boyfriend. Sounds like he lived life to the fullest. (And he looks like a little trouble-maker with that head of hair!)

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. 🙂

  15. Great band memories, Wendy. Reminded me of the H-uuuuuuge crush I had on the sax player in our band during my freshman year. I was too shy though and never got up the nerve to stalk him. 🙂

    I played clarinet in our band in my freshman year only, because then I moved away. We only ever played concerts, except one parade in the spring. That walking and playing thing was hard AND it was raining! Thankfully there were no formation change ups, but I feared walking straight into one of the flute players and I’m not sure there was much music being made – not on my part anyway.

    Thanks for joining us for School Picture Day!

  16. No “Sweet Caroline”?!? I thought that was the quintessential high school band song.
    What a nice post and a neat idea from Clay!

  17. Love it! You’re like the photo of the fish swimming up stream, in the opposite direction!
    I might try to dig out some of my old photos but they are conveniently kept in storage at my parents so the chances are slim to none…I’m OK with that 🙂

    • Yup, Beth…that was me…the fish out of water! How far away are your parents? You should really dig out a photo for us…I bet you were cute in high school! Wendy

  18. Great story, Wendy! BTW — I think you looked better without the sweater anyway. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. What great memories! I love that the photo was in black and white. Assume by now they’ve started using color?

  20. SHAFT!!! Sweet! I would’ve been kicked out for laughing a Willy- never had control of that.There AIN’T no way I’d share my pics from high school- before the advent of good taming hair products.

  21. Wendy – If you put the flute on your Christmas list this year, maybe Santa will oblige. Love the photo and the story. ♥ Diane

  22. Hey Wendy! What a fun read that was. I love when you share bits of your school life. You seem to have had such fun 🙂 My Grandpa used to play the flute…although what he played was Indian Classical. I’ve always thought the flute and the violin very difficult instruments to play…not that I play an instrument! If your flute helped pay off a loan…they must be very expensive indeed! You should start playing again 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Harsha…I’m way behind on my reading…need to get back over to your place! My flute wasn’t very much, and the loan was small (but big for a couple just starting out!). I don’t think I would get another flute at this point…there are too many other things I enjoy doing more! Hugs, Wendy

  23. jacquelincangro

    In my school, the students in band were not seen as the cool kids as they were in your school. Unfortunately kids teased them a lot and it probably discouraged a lot of students who wanted to join out of fear of being labeled.
    But I did learn violin briefly in music appreciation class. I wish we had a soundproof basement! My poor mother.

    • That’s too bad about your school, Jacquelin! The soundproof basement was in our school…I would have liked to have one when my two younger girls were taking violin! Wendy

  24. Love that you were in band and that you have such vivid memories to share. You have a great memory. My brothers were in band, too. They played trumpet, cornet and French Horn. I was amazed that they went from one instrument to another and seemed to easily adapt. While my brothers were blowing out air I was sucking in air on the swim team. We had a great time during those years; we were blessed.

    • My brother played French horn for about a year… I taught myself to swim when I was 11…I’m still not big on putting my head underwater, and would probably drown if I was ever in a dangerous situation… Glad you enjoyed the post, Georgette! Wendy

  25. Fun post! For me, the “fun thing” was always choir…
    my daughter played flute, as well, but her schedule didn’t allow for it after the 9th grade…

    My son is currently a trombonist…and has decided to stick with it next year in 8th grade.
    The community of people in the arts are always a hoot–I am happy he’s decided to stick with it…

    blessings, Wendy!

    • I don’t know why I didn’t do choir in high school, Jane, because I liked to sing…maybe it was the skirts? I used to sing in the choir in elementary school though… It’s true about artsy people…they’re usually readers too, and often funny! Hugs, Wendy

  26. Funny that it seems school bands are still playing all of the songs you guys were playing back then except maybe The Way We Were.

  27. I think you stood out in a good way. Very cute post. I’m sure you could still play the flute!

  28. In my school they put the tall ones in the back row behind everyone else so I never had to worry about my knobby knees. Of course my hair was always weird.

    • I think our band photos were arranged by height, but also by gender, Jeanne…most of the girls ended up in the front and boys at the back. I wish I could find my knobby knees now…sigh… Wendy

  29. Love that picture, Wendy. And second flute is nothing to sneeze at.

    I played the baritone and tenor sax. I was in 6th grade when I played “Barry” and it was bigger than I was. I’d wrangle a couple of my buddies in to helping me carry it.

    And I still love “sax,” too, if you know what I mean.

    • Thanks, Chase! Indeed…there are four children to prove it! I was a little confused when you said, “Barry”…I thought, “Is he talking about Barry Manilow?” Eventually, I caught on at my typical lightning speed… Wendy

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