By Emily Privett, Geography, Queen’s University, Canada.
As it’s ever-too-quickly coming to the end of my time here at Queen’s, I’ve been reflecting on all the experiences that have made my year abroad one of my favourite years in my 20 years of being a living and breathing human. The answer came immediately to my head and that is; Queen’s Bands.
Queen’s Bands is essentially a marching band, but so much cooler than it sounds. (Probably not actually, but being cool is overrated right?). This marching band is complete with its own drum corps, pipe band, brass band, colour guard, cheerleaders and highland dancers. We are the people who follow the school football team (The Gaels) to every game they play in, meet Santa multiple times in the Santa Clause Parades and confuse everyone by wearing our tartan uniform down a St Patrick’s Day Parade. We are also the people with overflowing amounts of school spirit. This is something that is very unique about Queen’s, and something that I love.
From the seven hour bus rides complete with crazy early mornings (our first Saturday started at 4am…), attempting to change into our already complicated uniform in a crowded and moving bus, endless singing and zero sleep to the actual playing, marching and oil thigh’ing whenever the Gaels got a touchdown, the playing at football games has been an incredible experience.
As an English girl who isn’t too good at dealing with the cold (remind me again why I thought Canada would be a good idea…), the time the Christmas parades came, I was extremely thankful that they were not accompanied with -30 degree weather or snow. Even the St Patrick’s Day parade last weekend was rather pleasant, despite the -10 degree weather.
There is something just so rewarding about knowing that, by wearing the outfit and playing your instrument, be it at the side of a football game or in the middle of a parade, you are representing Queen’s Bands. We have also become quite the tourist attraction. I have no idea how many photos, videos and snapchats we must be in but I can safely guess it’s a few. We even have people come up to us and ask to be in photos with us (I like to think this makes me famous, no?).
An amazing thing about Queen’s Bands is just how quickly you become friends with the entirety of your section. In the brass band there is about 30 of us and by the end of the first weekend away to Western University, I could safely name about two-thirds of them. Bands makes such an amazing effort in getting us all to know each other and with practice on Tuesdays, marching practice on Thursdays and football games all day Saturdays in the fall semester, this happened incredibly quickly.
I can safely say that the people in Queen’s Bands have become my closest friends here and I will forever remember my time in such an inclusive, crazy, fun and welcoming community of people.
If anyone is considering going to Queen’s, you should definitely check out Queen’s Bands, they’re an amazing bunch of people and I only wish I could stay forever.
(In the absence of any videos from this year, here is one from 2012 if you fancied having a look at what we do https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsH8wysNh78)