Wednesday, September 14, 2011

40 Years, Give or Take: Junior Year

Feeling alone in a sea of new faces, I tried my best to blend in during the first few weeks of my junior year at JCHS in 1970.   I was so confused by the order of things and all the extra processes involved, that when “M through Z” was called to come down for class pictures, I walked up to the photographer, gave him my name, and ended up in the 1971 Marcullus with the rest of the---sophomores?  Yes, I had my school picture taken with the sophomores instead of the juniors. 

Music was my common tie from Eugene to Jefferson City, so I decided to immerse myself in the band program.  But as I have said, I felt like I was starting out several yards behind the other band students.
The first day in the band room, during warmups, director Jerry Hoover called for a "concert Eb scale."  I had no idea where to even start playing that scale on my trumpet!  I had never even heard the term "concert Eb scale!"  Then, Mr. Hoover stopped the entire 180+ member band, looked at Jon Scott (class of '71) seated next to me, and said, "Show him the concert Eb scale."   So much for blending in.

I opted out of marching band, not because I didn’t want to be a part of it, but because I felt completely inadequate.  For one thing, there was the whole move-from-tiny-school-to-big-school thing.  But I also have this thing with my leg.  One leg is a bit smaller than the other due to a slight case of polio when I was a baby.  (Remember, we were born prior to the Salk vaccine!) I have this limp, and that made me somewhat self-conscious when trying to march in a band I considered as close to professional as a school band could be! 

But Mr. Hoover wasn’t having any of it.  Where I thought I was doing him a favor, he was determined not to let me miss out on an opportunity.  That would be a pattern with him for the next two years. 

So, I ended up in marching band.  And what memories I have from those experiences during my junior and senior years!    The band trips, the early morning marching practices, Mr. Shollenberger pacing the sidelines with that ever-present grin.  Some specific memories from Jazz Band and the Marching Jays will be covered in the next few installments of this blog.

My junior year was a blur.  There were so many firsts, it’s hard to pin them all down.  Not to mention that the passing of 39 years has crowded a lot of memories together.  And I’m old…er.

There was my first high school football game.  Now, how cool is it that the very first high school football game I ever saw was as a Jeff City Jay?!  Then there were the Majorettes!  (sigh)  The first band contest, practices, school musicals, the Jayettes, and of course walking 2 miles farther between classes than I ever had to at Eugene.  And then there were the Majorettes! 

I picked up guitar, thanks to the inspiration of Paul Duke (class of ’71), and became involved with a folk group from First Baptist Church with Paul and Jim Ailor (class of ’71), Greg Morrow, Greg Hernandez, Donna Haldiman, and several others.  It was a great time!  

I was actually beginning to improve my musical skills, so I felt less inadequate.  I was actually growing!  And there were opportunities there at JCHS that  I would never have had in a smaller school.

I slowly began to fold in to the rest of the school, and the more I became involved with music, the more I felt I belonged there at Jefferson City Senior High School.  I was becoming a Jay.   

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