Confession: I will always be a band geek at heart. My junior high and high school years were spent marching my flute around fields and up and down neighborhood streets in parade formation in my small town, riding the band bus, and ogling the older boys in the percussion section. So really…was there any way I was NOT going to like a book called NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK?
Probably not… but I didn’t just like it; I loved it. (Full disclosure: Author Erin Dionne is a talented writer that I’m lucky enough to count as a friend as well. I would have loved the book just as much if she were a stranger, though.)
Elsie Wyatt is a great twist on the classic fish-out-of-water story, a classic orchestra kid who’s forced to join marching band to show “ensemble diversity” for her elite music camp application. Her marching band life is a story of baptism by fire (On the first day, she drops her hat with the big fluffy plume, inspiring the entire band to chant “Chicken down” song at her until she starts clucking.) Things don’t get any more dignified from there.
This is a hilarious book that celebrates the best of marching band life in ways that had me both laughing out loud and getting goosebumps, remembering what it was like to be part of something so big and loud and awesome for all those years. On top of all that, it’s a tender, sweet, and funny story about family dynamics (Elsie’s dad is a symphony horn player), making friends, first crushes, and figuring out who you really are.
If you’d like a signed copy of this book, you’re in luck – Erin Dionne will be signing (along with me, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Amy Guglielmo, and Jon Katz, at The Bookstore Plus this weekend in Lake Placid, as part of a big fundraiser for the flooded Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY. You can read more about the event here – and the number to call to order signed books (call by Saturday morning, please) is 518-523-2950.