Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Band Is For Nerds

Mia Barnett
February 1, 2015

I’ve been in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble for four years now. As I’ve been reflecting on my Kenyon experience (i.e., thinking about how sad I’ll be when I graduate in 3½ months), I just can’t figure out why I’ve stayed in band so long. I’m not a music major. I’ve never taken a music course. I don’t even practice my clarinet that often. None of my close friends are in band. And when I talk about band to them, they like to poke fun at how nerdy I am (which I completely embrace). But why do I stay in it?

 Turning percussion equipment into Q tips is my specialty.

While pondering this question, I decided that the only way to find out was to go on an honor band trip. OK, actually, the promise of a great solo in one of my favorite pieces was enough to convince little ol’ conceited me to join the group. So, last weekend, my director and seven students, including myself, embarked on a journey to Canton to play in a band made up of students from private schools all across Ohio.

Our fearless leader. 

You may think this is a story about bonding with students from other schools over our shared love of making music. Well, it’s not. The other students were kind of scary. But this is a story about bonding with students from my own school, people I’ve been in class with for months now but hadn’t really known.

The seven of us — one senior, one junior, one sophomore, and four freshmen — spent the weekend taking selfies in our creeper van, discussing how intense some of the other students in the band were, searching for our director who constantly wandered, and enjoying good food graciously paid for by the music department (thanks!). We even started a blog, incredulous at the sheer amount of badly placed benches we found.

Left: Selfie in our creeper van. Right: Enjoying Thai food courtesy of the music department.

I got to know these underclassmen over the weekend in a way that’s just not possible when you’re sitting in band playing your instrument. Most of my friends are seniors like me, but I can now say I have a few friends in other years at Kenyon. So yeah, band may be for nerds, but really funny, talented and awesome nerds. How could I quit a group like that?