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Running to the Music

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if there was a background score of music playing, like in the movies?

This blog is alive, with the sound of music

This blog is alive, with the sound of music

Just as something bad is about to happen–you would know it!  The music would get low and foreboding.  People would just break out into song, instead of honking their horns or trying to hit you with a shopping cart.

(To the music of Memory from Cats)

Left lane,

Is for cars that are passing,

And for making a left turn,

Not for ambling along.

I remember

A time driver’s knew what etiquette was

Leave the left lane, flow again.

But alas, our lives are not scored musically.  Except when I run.

I almost always run with music; the exceptions being when I am running with someone else and it would be just rude to shut them out and ignore them, and when my iPod battery dies.  Don’t you just hate that!

This past week, the temperatures here in central Pennsylvania (which stands for Penn’s frozen woods) have been in the single digits in the morning when I usually run, with wind chills often below zero.

And there I am, running across snow and ice as Glenn Frey’s The Heat is On plays in my ear.  The director of this score has a sense of humor.

Today, though, Queen Elsa sang Let It Go . . . . and I ran on because the cold never really bothered me anyway.

frozencold

Yes, I have an eclectic mix of music for running.  A lot of the music is from the 80’s, but includes TV Themes songs such as The Odd Couple, Friends, Lost in Space, and Gilligan’s Island (you never know when a run might end up being a three hour tour!), show tunes (such as Phantom of the Opera descending into the labyrinth), and more recent music such as my lady Katy Perry.

Also on my run this morning, Star Wars by Meco came on, and all of a sudden, I was no longer running in Pennsylvania, but on the Ice Planet of Hoth, on the muscular legs of a tauntaun.  (Hey!  the only muscles I have are in my legs, my mouth and the fingers that type.  The rest of me is more like C3PO or a poorly drawn stick figure.)

I like music with a beat–it keeps you going when you are are putting one foot in front of the other.  But the beat and the bass (it’s NOT all about that bass and I do not have that song in the playlist!) should not be overpowering (think heavy metal and head banging music.)  The beat should complement the melody; not try to kill it in a bloody battle.

Some of the tunes remind me of my childhood, such as the TV themes.  They may not make me run faster, but somehow they make me feel younger.  And yes, I have We are Young by Fun.  Sometimes, I pick songs just because I like them, not necessarily because they have a strong beat or make me feel younger.  Some of the songs on my iPod were sung by girls I had crushes on back in the day–Debbie Gibson, Susanna Hoffs, Debbie Harry, and Belinda Carlisle.  Yeah, who am I kidding–I still have those crushes and that’s why Katy Perry is on the playlist now.

My favorite songs to run to:  Major Tom , Believe, I Will Survive, Lawyers in Love, Bad Romance, The Theme from Gremlins, the original Hawaii 5-0 theme, and Wizards in Winter (by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.)

I know there are some other runners out there.  What’s on your playlist?????

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My son is a drummer in the marching band and wants to be a lieutenant next year.  Apparently, there is an application and interview process to select these section leaders.  After scribbling down writing up his responses for the application, he asked demanded that I type them up for him, because he has other homework to do, and I type so much better.  Boo hoo hoo.  Truth be told, I hunt and peck, but I do peck rather quickly.

This is what he wanted me to type for him . . .

Junior High Lieutenant Application

Questions:

1.   What qualifications do you bring to the lieutenant program/ a leadership role?

I have pretty good musical skills and can help other students.  I also have the motivation to have a final product that is very good sounding and well-executed.  I have participated in Kan It and Krew, as well as helping with percussion clinics for future band students.

2.  Why would you like to hold a leadership position?

Because I want to make sure that the drum line will be in shape to give our best performance possible.

3.  What are your goals for the 2012-13 Marching Band?

My goals are to improve not only my own skills, but help develop other’s skills and help the show run smoothly.

4.  What do the following terms mean to you?

a.  Commitment – to be dedicated to something and to put effort into it

b.  Leader –  a role model for others who can give advice to others

c.  Criticism – a way to help others improve without being harsh, but being helpful

d.  Pride – pride is a sense of honor and confidence in what you do

e.  Cooperation – to work with others well and help a group work like a well-oiled machine.

Who does he think I am?  His personal secretary?  A lesson in life was needed here.

The Shining example of a dad who shouldn’t type his kid’s papers.

So this is what I actually typed . . .

Junyer Hi Lootenint Applakation

Questions:

1.   What qualifications do you bring to the lieutenant program/ a leadership role?

I’m pretty much a twerp.  I’m not qualified to flip burgers and I can’t march and chew gum at the same time.  I can bang things with sticks though.  That leadership roll thing is making me hungry.

2.  Why would you like to hold a leadership position?

So that I can squash it in my open palm.  Or drop it.  Whatever.  I plan to take over the world.

3.  What are your goals for the 2012-13 Marching Band?

I didn’t know we could score goals!  My goal is to survive.  I hope not to pick my nose till it bleeds profusely.  That will be tough, but what good are goals if you don’t get high.  I mean, set them high.

4.  What do the following terms mean to you?

a.  Commitment – putting someone away in a mental institution

b.  Leader –  a unit of volume in the metric system

c.  Criticism – the opportunity to make someone else feel really bad about themselves

d.  Pride – a group of lions

e.  Cooperation – a corporation that makes chicken coops

I doubt he asks me to type anything else for him in the future!

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Today I paid final respects to a man who was very prominent in my formative years.

We all have had teachers like that when we were growing up.  These people touched our lives in ways that we cannot always express.  They are indeed, a part of us deep down inside, and death can never take that away.

Darwin H. Bistline was the director of the marching band when I was in high school.  Under his direction, the AAHS marching band won first place awards in 15 of his sixteen years at the helm.   He retired in 1982, the year I graduated.

They had several video montages for guests to watch, featuring marching bands from the late sixties, the seventies, and even a few pictures from my high school years in the early eighties.  They brought back many memories–band camps in the heat of summer, cold parades in November, and band trips in the spring.  Back in the day, the high school band was a fixture in the community and brought a sense of pride to the hometown.  Schools actually provided uniforms and weren’t cutting music programs from the budget to make ends meet.

Darwin H. Bistline

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d lead the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
We were young and sure to have our way

I guess its true.  You can’t go back.  You can never go back.

I thought I would meet more people I knew at the funeral home, but alas, I was alone except for my memories.  Nearly thirty years separates me from that time in my life and many of the people in our band are spread across the country.

One montage showed countless pictures of Darwin and his family.  Sometimes, as students in school, we forget that our teachers have lives just like the rest of us.  I saw him as a young director and you could see the fire in his eyes.  He was a demanding perfectionist when I knew him in the twilight of his career, but there was another man I never knew who preceded that one.

At one point, I even considered a career in music–to become a band director–because of the influence this man had in my life at that time.  In college, I joined the marching band and even designed one of our half-time shows.  But I didn’t have the musical skill or ear and my interests were drawn elsewhere.  I can’t even carry a tune in a suitcase.

Mr. Bistline taught his students discipline and a strong work ethic.  Do it with spirit, tradition and pride.  That was his slogan.  STP.

The 1982 AAHS Marching Band!

I still get chills when I hear his–our–signature march, Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite.  To this day, I occasionally throw some march music into the CD player and I know my appreciation for this music came from him.

The leader of the band is tired
and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
to imitate the man
I’m just the living legacy
to the leader of the band.

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