"Come ahn, people! Make it smooth 'an lagato like a sundae!" When he scolded us that day, we played dumb. Maybe it was the fact that he'd been jabbering at us for almost the entire class period. Or maybe it was the fact that, on the second week of school, we still weren't used to the conductor's odd analogies.
"Some of the flute players laughed aloud as they had been since the first day, other members of the 130-student, 8th-grade concert band rolled their eyes. So far he'd used the desserts: banana cream pie, creme brulee, and cherry cobbler to describe our progress in his class with twenty minutes to elaborate on each. I leaned back in my seat, laying my wooden clarinet delicately across my lap, settling in for his latest story. I tossed a piece of chocolate-colored hair out of my face, and curiously surveyed his tall, muscular frame.
His head and face were in perfect proportion with his body, his blue eyes were enough to rival Zack Efron's, and his face was so perfectly tanned, it looked as if he'd had a once-over with an airbrush. His scraggly brunet hair was tamed with some sort of fruity-smelling product that I was able to smell from the first rom of chairs, unless it was a type of cologne. If it weren't for his faint British accent and complete, mandatory teacher-pantsuit, he could've easily been mistaken for an Abercrombie bag model. It was his looks alone that got a few girls to sign up for concert band opposed to symphonic, jazz, or pep band. It was enoughto make me wonder how he landed a job as minor as conducting a bunch of teens at a private school.
He sighed, "Okay. Let's pratend the band is a sundae." Mr. Johns wandered around until he stood at the back of the large, hardwood-floored room near the tubas and baritones. "Low voices- tuba, bahritone, euphonium, base clarinet, bahritone sahx, bahssoon- you guys ah the ice cream, the foundation. Yohr paht is simple, but we need enough of you to fill the bowl, or in our case, auditorium. Play out, yoh're never playing too loud."
He casually stuck his hand into the pocket of his black pants, "Now, French horns, tenor sahxes, second-paht alto sahxes, and trumpets, you ah the chocolate chips or the caramel. You bring the flavor to the sundae. You guys gotta have a big sound, but don't blast yoh're heads off. Trumpets, don't blast off the heads of the people in front of you. That means, don't aim for people's ears." Some of the trumpets snickered at his comment, while a couple of the 3rd-part clarinets cheered, as they sat directly in front of the upper brass.
"First altos, oboes, clarinets, yoh're the sprinkles and the cherry on top. Adds the finishing touch, but is the most subtle. That group of you has to play the quieteste, but with a full sound. That means at all costs, try not not to produce an airy or reedy tone. Altos, check yohr reed's condition before you slap it on yohr mouthpiece. No dead reeds- that means you too, clarinets. So all of us have to do our part, like a sundae, to become a band. Any questions?" By the time Mr. Johns had finished talking, he had circled the room, and was, once again, standing at the front of the room with his navy-blue podium. We nodded violently, acknowledging that we didn't have any questions.
"All roit, let's begin the march." He exclaimed. We impatiently put our instruments in our mouths and waited for him to prep us for the first not. As expected, he lifted his arms far from his body, as if a bird showcasing its windspan, to give us a breath. We breathed un unison, and before anyone could blow by the first measure, the shrill, metallic ping of the Porter Band Academy passing-period bell broke us from our vibe.
Most of the band groaned their impatient heads off, eager to play the music after Mr. Johns' excessive talking. Even so, we sprang from our red-velvet-and-Kenyan-wood chairs, popped our instruments in their special-edition, leather Yamaha cases, and bolted straight out the first-place-ribbon-covered door.
(TO BE CONTINUED)