To a Sweet Performance
Informant: Every time before a performance, our band teacher will pass out licorice or some form of candy, usually licorice, then raises up the licorice and says, “this goes to a sweet performance”. Then we all raise up our licorice and then we eat it.
Interviewer: And why does he do it?
Informant: Because that’s what his college band director did.
Interviewer: and what college did he go to?
Informant: I’m not sure if it was his high school or college, but I’m pretty sure its his college . . . U Mass? It’s U Mass.
Interviewer: Typically what setting does this take place in?
Informant: It happens before a performance so usually in the band room or on a bus in the parking lot.
The eating of food, has come to be a sort of protection ritual for the performance of the band. As a folk metaphor, the actual “sweet” of the candy can be transferred to a metaphorically “sweet” performance, possibly as a type of contagious magic. Additionally, the proliferation of the ritual is evident as it moves from Massachusetts to Southern California, with the band director who has chosen to share this particular tradition with the kids.