The lone trumpet

This story was written for my Creative Writing: Fiction class at Temple University.

Write a scene from your own life from the point of view of someone else at a distance. Perhaps a classmate watching you flirt or a neighbor watching you learn to ride a bike.

The Buccaneers shattered DCA records at the 2009 World Championships. (Wendy Monhollan)

The Buccaneers shattered DCA records at the 2009 World Championships. (Wendy Monhollan)

The Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps took the field on this late Sunday night to perform their final show of the season.  Everything was on the line.  If all went well for them, they would reach all the records left untouched by that corps.

They split from their block and formed their opening set.  I stood on the right side of the 50-yard line with all of the low brass.  But here were these two lonely trumpets in the midst of the big horns.  The young woman stood three players in from the left.  She had an intense and fierce look in her eye, almost with an air of arrogance that this was their night and no one was going to stop them.  She drew a cross over her heart, kissed her hand and pointed it to the sky before she turned around and focused on the start of the show.  The move surely had something to do with their fallen member.

The drum major began conducting and the corps was off. I lost sight of the female trumpet player in the mass confusion of members flying around me.  I spoke into my recorder, but could not find much to critique the corps on.  They obviously came to play tonight.

As they corps moved into their ballad, I found her again.  The upper brass was scattered around in a group, every member in a different pose as they played.  She was the only one who went down onto both of her knees.

I followed her as she moved around the field.  She was so graceful in her moves. Her eyes constantly darted from the drum major to the forms around her, making sure to always hit her “dots” on the field.

The ballad ended and she sped off in the next, up-tempo piece.  She had quite a few long distance moves in this song.  It was obvious that the drill writer had confidence in her abilities at marching to entrust her to nail her spot every time.  If you would have just looked at her from her torso up, you would have never known had large of a step she had to take.  She glided along effortlessly, the music from her horn seamless as if she were standing still.

She brought her horn down with ferocity at the end of the song, clearly feeding off of the performance and the crowd to this point.  She stood out at this moment, not because of anything she did, but because she was separated from the rest of the hornline.  She was on the end of the line and to her left must have been the member who tragically died.

I looked at her face.  I could see her eyes look to the empty spot and saw a tear run down her cheek.  She closed her eyes for a second before focusing back on the drum major.

When the corps formed a giant cross on the field for the “angels” portion of their show, “Demons & Angels,” I became distracted and lost her once again.  The corps played with so much heart in that part that it brought a tear to me.  It was a beautiful and breathtaking moment in this flawless performance.

As soon as it began, the cross broke apart and the pace picked up.  The members were now flying across the field, moving so fast that it seemed almost inhuman to be able accomplish.  The corps formed a company front to finish the show.

I spotted the girl near the very end of the line.  She brought her horn down and the tears just began to flow as a huge smile spread across her face.  I couldn’t imagine the range of emotions she must have been feeling at that moment.  The corps had just put on arguable the best performance in Drum Corps Associates history, and all of this on top of tragedy.  I wrapped up my last comments on the show and turned the tape off.  I watched the girl as she held her head high as she marched off the field.  Every bit of that confidence from before showed in every step she took as she crossed the end zone.

Bravo Buccaneers.

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Drum & Bugle Corps, Short Stories

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