We got there early this time (we missed the band's march down the first time we went, and we couldn't stand to miss that tradition again). We wandered around campus, changed Maddie on the bench in the lobby of Blair Music Center (Dr. Mecham would have a fit! We weren't allowed to have food or drink in Blair, let alone dirty diapers!) and we decided to go visit the chapel, where we were married. When we went into the sanctuary we saw that someone was up at the big organ. Organ majors sign up for practice times in there weekly, but rarely on a Saturday, so we figured this was a rare treat. We knew Maddie would love the organ, so we stayed to listen. Then we noticed that we knew the organist! It was Dr. M-S, the organ professor and handbell choir director! We called up to her and she had us come up to the balcony (where the organ player sits) so she could see Maddie. She was impressed with our little musician and she let Maddie sit at the organ console and play! (Now, college students didn't just go up and touch the organ in Miller Chapel. We've never even played it, and now our daughter has!) Maddie hit one of the preset buttons that pulled out half the stops and WOW was that a cool sound for her! Dr. M-S played some Bach for us while we wandered around the sanctuary some more, and then we headed down for the march down.
The drumline was warming up, as they always have, coming in before the rest of the band and waking up all the late sleepers on campus. That used to really tick off those late-sleepers. But the band had been up and at rehearsal since 8, so phooey to the late-sleepers.
March down is a fondly-remembered tradition for us. Basically the band leaves Blair and marches across the social quad, then goes over the pedestrian rail road bridge, and heads down the end of the football field for the pre-game show. Sounds very routine, we did it for every home game. But it never looks the same twice. Straight lines weren't really our style. And since the band uesd to be student-run, we had some flexibility. So the lines go squiggly, zig-zagged, or in circles. Or inside and out of buildings. Whatever. A favorite was when the trumpet section broke off and marched through Lynch Gymnasium and out the back. Or cut through my old freshman dorm, Mary Green hall. Marched right down the halls and met the rest of the band on the other side. Today one flank also made their way around a tree before heading on.Gotta love march down. Maddie named some instruments, danced to the beat, and just enjoyed watching the marching feet go by.
We walked around the football field area, saw a dozen or so people who we knew we knew, but didn't know from what class...and had no clue about names. But you nod and smile and ask how old their kid is if they have one, and move on.
We ran into Doc, our old band director and student-teaching coordinator. He not only remembered all our names, he remembered fondly a certain incident in which Bob "busted out" (took off his shirt) when the other guys on band staff did so as well, and Meg...well, Meg kind of got distracted, tripped in the next set, and dented brand-new melophone that was newly out of the wrapper that morning. Ah, the memories.
We thought Maddie would really be in love with the band and the half-time show. We told her "today we're going to go see a marching band!" She repeated this, and was psyched. She did like it, but she didn't understand why we couldn't go right down there next to the band and SEE them. So she was a bit of a wiggling handfull in the stands. So our apololiges to everyone she kicked or uh, screamed at. She was thrilled with the xylophones. She got very upset when the color guard dropped a set of flags at the end of one number and got other flags from elsewhere. She needed to go down and get those flags. Urgently. Again, sorry, surrounding spectators.
We were running around with former roomie and bridesmaid Brenda, former roomie Rachel, former bandmate and friend Laura, and a few other people we ran into. We found Carrie and Travis and Shawn and Christina, and after the game we all grabbed a table for the tent party. Yay! They had wings (low-carb!) and we had fun trying to wrangle Maddie into our area time after time. Note to self: ALWAYS bring some kind of strap-in seat for crazy toddler when the possibility of missing a nap is involved. A stroller, a portable booster seat, something. Don't realize that you forgot before you get on the expressway but elect not to go back and get it because "she'll be fine". And that's all we'll say about that.
All in all, we had an awesome time. It was a challenge, getting Maddie to cooperate in certain situations...and we joked that the snotty-nosed, sleepy-eyed tantrum or two Maddie had was probably a visible public service announcements for our more recently-married and as-yet childress friends to practice, shall we say, good family planning. "See this guys? This is what almost 2 looks like. And sounds like."
Maddie got an LVC pom-pom, we got a MARCHING BAND sticker for our car (they had nothing to advertise band when we were in school, so we felt the need to be retroactively band geeky), and we saw some good friends whose company we've missed since we all hit the real world.