Band geeks—all together now!

by GeekGirlCon Staff Copy Writer Sarah Grant

Band geek.

I admit it: I am one. I have been once since sixth grade. I will be one until I die.

That’s me on the top right!

That’s me on the top right!

Band geek certainly wasn’t my first label growing up. It’s definitely not going to be my last. But it’s certainly the one I’m most proud of.

I started playing piano in fifth grade and then flute in sixth grade. Taking lessons from the public school music teacher meant I was automatically in the band, and my first concert was the holiday concert that year. The grammar school band led to the junior high band, which led to the high school band, which led directly into the college band. Along the way, I made some incredible friends—friends who liked me for exactly who I was. We were tall and short, thin and overweight, and (as we know now!) gay and straight. We did really fun, daring things like listening to REM and They Might Be Giants on the bus all the way to Florida from Wisconsin for a bowl game. We also gathered at each other’s houses to play Trivial Pursuit and then piled into a couple of cars and headed to Denny’s.

My high school memories revolve around these friends and the ridiculousness we loved in each other. Many of us are still in touch, thanks to Facebook. I have a reunion coming up this year, and these are the friends I will want to hang around with.

Smurfette is the shorter one, Sassy is the one without her hat on.

Smurfette is the shorter one, Sassy is the one without her hat on.

Band in college was a completely different animal from the innocent junior high and high school band days. I learned to play the cymbals, drink beer, and do just enough work to get fair grades in my classes. Along that road, I made two of the best friends I’ve ever had. I call them Sassy and Smurfette.

They’re both married with children now; Sassy is with her family in Wisconsin, while Smurfette and her family are currently on assignment for a couple of years with her husband in Poland. I miss them all very much, but we keep in touch via Facebook and texting, along with phone calls and the occasional silly present in the mail. We also get together for alumni band reunions, which gives us the opportunity to geek out about those band days all over again.

Last year’s alumni band reunion, Wando’s Bar, Madison, WI

Last year’s alumni band reunion, Wando’s Bar, Madison, WI

Being a geek can have so many sources in your life; if you played Dungeons and Dragons growing up, you have that. If you hung out at comic book stores with your friends waiting for the release of the new Spiderman, you have that. If you listened to awesome music with your parents or an older sibling, you will always have those memories, as well as a solid foundation to win all those music categories in your local pub quiz.

The best thing about being a geek these days—whether you’re a music geek, a Magic geek, a Potterhead, a Twilight junkie, a motorhead, a John Hughes movie buff, a knifemaker, a writer, or anything else—is that geeks aren’t ostracized nearly as much when we become adults. All-around geeks like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have paved the way for us to come out of our Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles half-shells and into the bright, wide world. I think it’s because we learn to recognize each other and group together in places like GeekGirlCon; we build our chosen families from those who understand us, even if we don’t necessarily geek out about the same stuff.

The world seems to be quite a dangerous place, in general. Finding our geeks helps us to find the safety we’re looking for, and the comfort of a place to belong. Even if it means you’re one of over three hundred people on a football field for a half-time show.

Wisconsin Alumni Marching Band, 2012 reunion

Wisconsin Alumni Marching Band, 2012 reunion

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Sarah Grant
“Rock On!”

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