Christy Lorio: Football? What about the flute player?

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Christy Lorio (photo by Leslie Almeida)

All-Star Marching Band, summer of 1997: We were out there sweltering in the heat on LSU’s practice field, memorizing music, remembering to mark time while staying in formation. We’d literally practice from when the sun came up to well after dusk, just like the All-Star Football Team. Except instead of running laps we were working on getting syncopated rhythms right. Our reward? Donning our school marching band uniforms in 90-degree humidity to keep the game watchers entertained, and earning a coveted patch for our letterman jackets.

Almost my entire life I’ve been surrounded by music, not just listening but playing it as well. My grandpa played trumpet, and my mom taught piano lessons, so naturally I picked up an instrument at a fairly early age. I started tickling the ivories around when I was 4 years old, then I took a break for ballet, but since I don’t have a graceful bone in my body I wound up playing flute from fourth grade straight through college. During high school I was in marching band, which was a lot of fun. Not only did I get to meet boys (I went to an all girls Catholic school) but I also got to do something I was really good at and enjoyed immensely, both for the creative outlet and the social aspects.

When the football team went to the state championship it was practically a new school holiday. They lost in overtime, but damn did we have fun performing the half time show in the Super Dome. When the band went to state, did the entire school go? Hardly anyone even knew about it. We nailed our performance, taking top honors but that hardly garnered a ticker-tape parade. If memory serves me, competitions were always held in a cleared out cafeteria or a band hall in desperate need of renovations.

Sports are really all about entertainment, a way for people to join together, have some fun, and maybe even be able to reminisce about when they played. Not everyone is going to be an all-star athlete, but spectators sure do criticize and I suppose that pre-game speculation and post-game commentary is half the fun. That’s the one good thing about being a musician: The majority will just nod their heads to the beat instead of analyzing how breathy your tone was in the higher octaves.

Or maybe it’s like watching the Super Bowl. You don’t have to know anything about football to know that Drew Brees is an incredible athlete, but it’s more enjoyable if you do. While you don’t need to know an E flat from a C sharp to get into Eye of The Tiger, it can make you appreciate the talent and amount of time it takes to memorize an entire football game’s worth of songs. Next time you’re at a game, remember that there’s talent both on and off the field, and make sure all the real stars are being met with fanfare at the end of the game.

Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.

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