Residence: Washington, District of Colombia
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): none
A – “There are a couple things we always did, every day we had class, once we got to class back in high school. There’s this thing at Schreiber [our High School] where, every musician with their instrument ready would blow out some really poor-sounding tone, and then there would be a response from the other side of the room. It didn’t really matter who responded, so sometimes there was more than one, but, you know, as long as there was a response. And yeah, just a really poor tone coming from any instrument. So this would happen every class, so twice a week, before our teacher/conductor got there, we were all getting ready. This is kinda just our way of maintaining our individuality from the other students at school, I think we were all rather proud of being in the band.”
How were you Introduced to this tradition?
A – “So the first time I got into the band my sophomore year, I noticed people doing it, but no one actually said anything about it. It took me a couple weeks before I realized that it was, like, an actual thing that we always did. Taking part in that was kinda like a rite of passage, once you did it, you were a real member of the band.”
A – “I definitely won’t forget that we did that, I think just because it brings me back to my time in the band, where I had a lot of fun and spent time with people I liked.”
I was actually in the band with A, and I got there a year before he did. So it was fun for me, who had gone through the same sort of vetting process with this one tone call and response, to watch him as he learned of it’s existence, and soon became proficient in it. I definitely agree with his idea that this was a sort of rite-of-passage situation; I’d also add that it was almost a weird way of hazing new members, getting them to think that we sound awful, getting them to wonder why they’re even there if that’s the case. Then we start playing.