I joined The Tuskegee University Band twenty-five years ago....
This past weekend I celebrated my 20th anniversary of graduating from Tuskegee and my 25th Anniversary of joining the Tuskegee Band.
I knew in the 7th grade that I was going to be a Marching Crimson Piper....
Now, a person doesn't just show up at Tuskegee and become a Marching Crimson Piper, there is a process that is called crabbing. Yep, there is a process which includes wearing a brown paper bag on our heads, running laps around the field on demand..... However, if a person can last until The Turkey Day Classic, which is the last game of the season, then he/she officially becomes A Marching Crimson Piper.
Well, I lasted, but there were many days when I thought that I wouldn't...nothing really bad happened except Mr. Duncan, our band director, stopped the entire band during practice to ask me "What was wrong with my legs?" (I wanted to go into the ground.) After practice I cried and cried and cried, and called my mama to tell her that I was quitting the band. She said that it was my decision. I got my nerves up, went to talk to Mr. Duncan, and to make a long story short, I stayed in the band. And, I am soooooo happy that I stayed in the band if for no other reason than to participate in the 2014 Alumni band, the year that Mr. Duncan would retire after 42 years of service to this great band and great University.
|Me and Mr. Duncan|
Over three hundred former band members showed up to march in the band for Homecoming. Band practice was completely amazing, and I could not contain my excitement. We laughed, danced, sang, hugged, talked trash etc. Mr. Duncan was moved to tears.
|Former Band Members on the yard!|
|Now, you know that we had to take a picture|
at "The Veil of Ignorance" on our way to band practice!
|Old School Sax Players: My Section!|
|Natalie still got IT, and she had a ball!|
|The Band Room Was Packed!|
|Felicia, we were freshmen saxophones player in 1989!|
|Ina, Homegirl and former band member!|
Game day came, and things fell into place. The former band members marched into The Alumni Bowl with the current members. For me this was extra special, because I got to march with my nephew and niece: Breland and Shanta. Did I mention that my family is on its second generation of Tuskegee Graduates? Well, we are...
Now, let me explain to you about Tuskegee people... We LOVE our BAND! So, as we were approaching the stadium, people were standing, waiting on us, and my happiness level went to the roof. When I saw the crowd, I starting jumping, hopping, turning, flipping, doing all of the moves that I use to do twenty-five years ago. When I saw my sisters, Oh Lord, I really went crazy. ( I am laughing really hard just thinking about it.)
|The Best Band In The Land!|
|Doing what I do or did!|
So, I injured my knee in a small biking mishap, and the foolishness of Homecoming did not make it any better.....(Homecoming will wear a person out.)
I sent my sisters a text and asked: "I can cycle 100 miles, teach Toni Morrison to classes back to back, run a marathon, but Homecoming still gets me..How do you train for Homecoming?" My People, Homecoming is not for the faint of heart at all.
I can't stop laughing.....
Eventually the game ended; however, the joy and memories of participating in the 2014 TU alumni band will last forever.
Here are a few more pictures from the weekend:
|Roommate for the weekend!|
|The Dean of The English Department, Dr. Burns.|
I am happy that she is still at Tuskegee as the Dean.
|Sisters! Skegee Family..|
|Photo that I just love: We love our school.|
|Sisters and a childhood friend, Penny|
|Student guide of our tour of Booker T. Washington's house.|
|My Dear Friends!|
|On the porch of Booker T. Washington's House|
|The halftime show!|
|Shanta getting ready to do her thing!|
|The grave site of Booker T. Washington.|
I had to honor the man who
went from being a slave to building history!
Tuskegee has soooo many traditions and the band is one of them. I am extremely happy that I had the opportunity to march in "The Best Band in the Land."
Tuskegee is "The Pride of the Swift Growing South!!"
25 Years Later, and I am still excited...