“Beeeep” The next bell went for us to move to the next class. The feeling of being herded like cows at times, with all the kids moving in the hallways happened every bell. This school was full of all kinds of students, and some moved faster or slower than others. Some could go speeding through the halls, and others walked like turtles. Going from a school with a graduating class of 40 kids to a high school population of 2,500 was a big adjustment. The halls were always full of chatter, yells, laughter, and the odd cry at times. So many emotions! And I had to watch where I was stepping too, there were kids sitting at their lockers with their legs sticking out on the floor! I was afraid to trip over them!
Grade nine was in full swing, I knew where my classes were, and I wasn’t getting lost at all to find them.
Music class was one of my favourites to attend. There were a couple of kids from my elementary school there in the class. They left me alone for the most part. The girls in the class who I knew already from Vaughan Willard were polite to me, even smiling at me. What was this? Why were they being nice to me now? Why couldn’t they be nice to me last year? I guess that was what the gang mentality of being in a group. Kids together will pick and tease you. Yet on their own they sometimes are nice.
“Ivy! Hey! How was your morning?” Ivy was another clarinet player in the grade nine class with me. Ivy was from a different feeder school into Dunbarton, so she was a new friend. I loved having friends that had the same interests as me. We all liked music and playing. “Hey Aime! My morning was crazy! Science was rough, learning about the periodic table is a lot to memorize. I am happy for music class. We don’t have to memorize. Just read and count.”
I laughed at her response, “Yes reading and counting. Most often just counting to 4 even! So, it is easy!” We both opened our cases for class. Mum and Dad bought me a clarinet in Grade 8 it was a plastic clarinet. Little did I know that this would be an issue the further I got in music in high school. “Awesome that you have your own clarinet!” Ivy smiled at me. She had the school’s clarinet. “Thank you! I was so surprised when Mum and Dad gave me one.”
“Alright everyone, quiet down, stop playing!” Mr. B was in the room. He was a big man, round face, he was sitting at the front of the class. There were no desks in this room, only chairs and music stands. Mr. B’s desk was off to one side where he had his brown brief case. The room was wide with a black board on the one wall, and high windows on the other. We were in the basement of the school. Our chairs were in different sections too. All the clarinets sat together, the flutes ahead of us in another row, the trumpets were beside us the clarinets, and the rest of the big brass instruments were behind us, with the drum kit at the back of the rows.
Our black folders were on the music stands. “Scales start with B Flat. 1, 2, 3, 4” Mr. B was waving his little baton in the air, using his music stand to count out the beats for us. Class started out this way every afternoon. Playing a few different scales, getting our fingers moving and warmed up.
One of the songs or pieces of music that we all liked to play was the Smurf Marching Song. As many of us grew up watching the cartoon with the little blue animated magical gnome like creatures that were no bigger than 3 apples tall wearing white pants, and floppy white hats. Each had a different personality, there was Brainy who had glasses and was super smart. Sleepy who was tired, had bags under his eyes. Chef who was a baker, his hat was a chef’s hat. And there was Doc who had red pants and a red hat to signify him as the leader of the little community. When the Smurfs talked they used the word smurf in their language.
We were playing this piece today for practice. “One, two, three, four.” Mr. B was again counting on his music stand with his baton. “Remember not to rush it, keep count please, and flutes you have a couple of key changes to watch for.”
The trumpet section had the melody to start with. They took off without counting and watching Mr. B. “I’m going to give out speeding tickets! Slow down!” Mr. B growled and threw his baton at the trumpet section.
“Give out speeding tickets for going to fast in music. That’s a good one! I’m going to use that one too!” Ivy was laughing. She looked over at me, as we both knew that sometimes speed was an issue in the clarinet section too. “Aime I’m going to give you a speeding ticket next time!”
“Hey Ivy, why don’t you smurf off.” I giggled back at her with a smile. “Smurf off?” Oh, that one is awesome too! That’s fun to say instead of something else when in public and want to tell someone to fuck off.”
Mr. B was getting out new music for us. The clarinet section had a lot of the melody with this new piece of music. I was First Clarinet in the class along with someone else, and Ivy played Second Clarinet or First depending on what the score called for. I looked at the music we had to play. “Oh smurf!!” I laughed at myself and looked over at Ivy when she saw the music she exclaimed the same. This was not going to be fun to play at the start. 3 key changes between the 2 pages of music.
Ivy reached her head back and howled with laughter, “Oh smurf! This is going to be a smurfing great piece of music to play!”