United

Because today is United Nations Day, our Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is United. If you decide to write a post based on this week’s prompt, be sure to go back here and share your link so everyone can see how you interpreted things! Here’s what I did with it…

When I started the 6th grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, I was given the opportunity to join the band and learn how to play an instrument I’d never picked up before. Since my best friend was going with the trumpet, I figured I should do the same. Maybe it was the other way around… Maybe I picked trumpet and he picked the same instrument because that’s what I chose.

No… 6th grade me was in no way an influencer.

Neither is 41-year-old me, let’s be honest.

A lot of kids started band in 6th grade but dropped out when we moved up to 7th grade. Part of that was because band evolved into marching band. Not sure why this was a huge deal since we only marched in one parade the entire school year. That was in the neighborhood Thanksgiving parade. Which I’m pretty sure got canceled due to inclement weather during my 8th grade year.

I wasn’t so much a fan of the marching, but stuck with it since we only had that one parade to march in. I did enjoy playing the trumpet. And much like my love for singing in choirs throughout the years, I loved being part of a larger ensemble that really only made sense and sounded amazing when it all came together. I definitely enjoyed our end of year concerts where we got to show off all we’d learned throughout the year.

Our fearless leader was Mr. Bill Carr. As a band director, Mr. Carr was legendary. And he wasn’t afraid to tell us so. I kid… He wasn’t really that full of himself. But he was good at what he did. You have to be in order to take it upon yourself to teach a whole bunch of pubescent adolescents how to play brand new musical instruments that they’ve never picked up before all while also teaching them how to march in time with one another. It can’t be easy to teach kids with no rhythm how to find the beat.

As good as Mr. Carr was, he lost his patience a lot. Well… that’s how I remember it, anyway. But, I think that teachers in general have every right to lose their patience from time to time. Kids can kinda be the worst. Especially in middle school.

But I tell you all this because of one of Mr. Carr’s favorite things to say when lecturing his band students. “The only difference between the words UNITED and UNTIED is where you put the I.”

He would throw out that pearl of wisdom whenever the band was having a particularly difficult time keeping up with one another. If you have the brass section playing at a slightly faster tempo because we can’t hear the percussion section keeping the beat and we’re clearly not watching Mr. Carr’s hand motions because we haven’t memorized our music yet… well, it’s gonna sound like a mess.

Clearly, he wanted a band that was united. And telling us that the only difference between united and untied is where you put the I definitely puts the pressure on individuals to stop thinking about ourselves and work together as a group to make the music sound better.

I promise, as a band, we weren’t always bad. We were invited to participate in a band competition at Carowinds, an amusement park outside of Charlotte, NC. It wasn’t the kind of competition that awarded 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. You just got a score and a certificate that came with bragging rights. We walked away with the highest rank of “Outstanding.” So… yeah… we were kind of a big deal.

Thanks to everyone who participated this week and shared your links! Please visit their blogs, give them a follow, and take a look at how they interpreted the prompt.

  1. gigglingfattie

Be sure to come back on Wednesday for the next Sunday Scribblings prompt! Encourage other bloggers to challenge themselves with the prompt! Remember that there are no rules for what you write, other than responding to the prompt! You can write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose, biography, instruction… it’s all up to you!

Feature Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

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