Stories From My Past: Band Trip To Kansas!
Freshman year in college, my first year in the OSU Cowboy Marching Band, we took a trip to Kansas for OSU's football game vs. the University of Kansas. The trip was one for the ages.
I was pretty naive - for those who know me now, the answer is a resounding YES more so than I am now. It was my first college band trip, and I had no idea what was coming.
(What should have been) the first sign that something flamboyant was in the immediate future was the conversation on the bus trip over there. Veteran band folk were talking about how we were staying in XX town instead of Lawrence (where the university is). This was because no hotel in Lawrence Kansas would let the OSU band stay there. We'd been banned from the city. I couldn't imagine why, so I simply didn't worry about it.
Once there, we had some group activity (Rehearsal? I don't remember). Then, we were told that one of our 6 busses was headed out to a shopping center where several restaurants were. I had no idea why any of the band folk would want to just stay around the hotel. Why wouldn't you go out to eat at McDonald's or Denny's or some other fine establishment? I thought that's what band trips were *for*.
Dinner came and went. Back to the bus. Once we got to the hotel, everything changed.
You see, the band folk who stayed had all gone to various liquor stores. Some had beers, some had other stuff. I had never been around any of that stuff, so I literally have no idea what it all was. There was a wide assortment of bottles floating around. Of the 200 band members, I'd say 75% were already drunk.
But it gets better... the band only took up about half that hotel. The other half was taken up by a wedding party. Heavy emphasis on the word "party". Those folks were disturbingly rowdy.
Here are some examples of the hilarity from that night:
1) I saw one of my fellow trombonists (a married fellow) with his arm around what looked to be the bride's grandmother from the wedding party. She looked to be at least 60. They both had beers and a "your place or mine?..." look in their eyes.
2) I saw one of the Flag n' Rifle girls (I'll call her "Butch") giving me a "come hither" look that literally scared me. Up to this point, Butch had shown no interest in men that I had ever seen. She also looked like she could hurt me badly. She also looked like she knew this, and that it was a turn-on. I ran.
3) I saw a standard-sized hotel room hold at least 40 people. The leader of the pack (I'll call her "Joyful") encouraged everybody in the room to start dancing, which they did. Joyful then sent everybody out into the hall, because there was so little room to dance inside. Within 15 seconds, the room was cleared. 30 minutes later, when Joyful and her 40 close friends came back (all at once, like a tornado), they were no longer dancing. When asked what happened to her dance, Joyful replied, "Dance? What dance? What a great idea! Hey everybody, let's dance!" So they did.
4) I saw a fellow trombonist who I will call "Bold", who was quite overweight and seemingly tranquil when drunk. He moved slowly, like a glacier. Bold had a video camera that he held up in front of his face for the entire evening. At one point, he waddled slowly into a bathroom with one of the band girls. Minutes later, he came back out, exactly as he had gone in - waddling slowly, camera in front of his face. She followed, tucking in her shirt.
5) And, my absolute favorite... I saw two drummers run up to a newspaper vending machine in the lobby. One said, "Is it bolted down?" "Nope." "Is anybody watching?" "Nope." Meanwhile, in the central reception area, there were around 200, 250 people from the band and the wedding party, all looking back at the drummers, and more than a few of them were saying out loud, "What the heck are those two doing?". With well over 200 sets of eyes watching them, the drummers decided they were undetected. So they pulled up the newspaper vending machine, and loaded it onto the percussion equipment van.
That vending machine went home with us. It stayed in the percussion practice room for years afterward.
Where, might you ask, was hotel security? I never saw a single uniformed employee. I think they were all hiding, honestly. The majority of their hotel patrons that night were band or wedding people. There was no hope of control.
As far as I know, the OSU band is no longer welcome in that town, either.