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From the Archive: Band Poems

Hello dear readers. Today, I’ll be sharing two tongue-in-cheek poems I wrote in high school. They were written in Facebook Notes, which has sadly been deprecated publicly. You can still read your old Notes, but as far as I know there is no way to show them to others again. I’d like to archive these before I forget and they get lost to the sands of internet time. I’ve corrected some minor typographical issues and added some footnote commentary, but the poems are otherwise identical to their original versions.

These two poems were based off of this humorous poem about taking exams. Instead of taking exams, my poems were about All-Region and All-Area band auditions, a contest in which students pack themselves into a room for several hours and play etudes for a panel of judges who rank them, the highest-ranking receiving membership in the All-Region or All-State ensembles, respectively.

I’ve never considered myself a good writer. These are probably the best poems I’ve written and will ever write, to be honest. Though there’s my childhood poem about building blocks, which I’ll leave to another time.


Twas the Night Before Region

  • Author: Vincent Lee
  • Published: November 26, 2011
  • Commentary: All-Region auditions, at the time I was in high school, were usually held around the first week of December. I vaguely recall writing this while procrastinating on practicing.

Twas the night before region,

And all throught the house,

Not a student wasn’t practicing,

Not even the louse.


Most were quite sleepy,

But none touched their beds,

While double tonguing and runs,1

Danced in their heads.


Out at the band hall,

A few were still playing.

Hoping the directors' advice

Would be alleviating.


In my own room,

I had been pacing,

And dreading the judges,

I soon would be facing.


My performance pal was speechless,2

His instrument in his hand

And my comments to him,

Brought tears to his glands.


I played the reed until death,3

And chose another one.

No longer caring,

That meant I was done (for).


I stared at the notes,

Not knowing what I had done.

But knowing what mess I had played,

Sure wasn’t fun.


“A chop break might help,"4

I said with a tremble,

But each time I turned,

I was drawn back, feeling dreadful.


I’d nearly concluded

That band was too cruel.

With placements depending,

On grades made with a musical tool.


When all of a sudden,

Our door opened wide,

And Patron Saint First Chair

Ambled inside


His spirit was careless

His manner all mellow

When all of a sudden,

He started to bellow


“ON FINALE AND SMARTMUSIC

ON LAST YEAR’S PLACEMENTS.

ON DYNAMICS AND PANICS

AND LAST MINUTE JUDGEMENTS.”


His message delivered,

He dashed out of sight

But we heard him laughing

Outside in the night


Your teachers have taught you

So just do your best

Happy Region Auditions to All

And to all a Good Test


Twas the Night Before Area

  • Author: Vincent Lee
  • Published: December 24, 2013
  • Commentary: Area competitions were only open to those who placed high enough at region competition, and were held at the time in early January. Thus, winter break was often just more time for extra grinding. I qualified for area twice, once in 2013 and once in 2014. I didn’t place high enough at area to make state either time, much to my regret.

Twas the night before area,

And all through the land,

No one was practicing,

Not even the marching band.5


Most were quite content,

With region in their wake;

While a select few people

Prepared for another take.


Out at their teachers' houses

A few were still playing

Hoping their teachers' presence

Would be alleviating


In my own house

I had been drilling

And killing for the judges6

I soon would be facing


I was speechless

My instrument in hand

And my opinion of myself

Brought tears to my glands


I played all my scales

Another time, in minor.

Hopes set high

On earning that honor.


I stared at my music

Like an arcane book of lore

Knowing I did those dynamics

Way worse than before.


“A chop break might help,”

I said with a tremble,

But each time I turned,

I was drawn back, feeling dreadful.


I’d nearly decided:

To me auditions won’t matter a lot.

When all I had

Was only a single shot


When all of a sudden

The door opened wide

And Patron-Saint All-Stater7

Ambled inside.


His spirit was all confident

He was strong in his gait

And I was surprised

When he boomed without wait:


“On practice and performance

and last year’s result

on style and tone

and victory’s exult!”


His message delivered

He dashed out of sight

But we heard him playing loudly

Into the night


Your teachers have taught you

So take a good rest (today at least xD)

Happy Area Audition to all

And to all: YOUR BEST!


  1. Double-tonguing: A higher-level technique for wind players that allows for faster articulation. ↩︎

  2. The flute section had a “performance pal” system where we would play for peers and solicit their feedback. ↩︎

  3. Flutes don’t use reeds, but I couldn’t find another way to make this fit. ↩︎

  4. “Chops” refer to a wind player’s mouth muscles, which can get overstrained when playing a lot. ↩︎

  5. The marching band season ends with the football season, in late November. ↩︎

  6. “Drill and kill” was a term we used in band to mean polishing something to perfection. ↩︎

  7. People who quality for All-State ensembles are called “all-staters”. ↩︎