When I was in junior high and high school, I was in the Band. I was inspired by my babysitter to play the clarinet. Since all students were required to play the recorder when we were young, and I loved my babysitter, I thought the clarinet would be a good choice. (Actually I don't think I was that intuitive back then, I probably wanted to be just like my babysitter.) Plus I loved our band teacher, Mr Paulson. He has been teaching band for 43 years, and teaching at Cedar Grove - Belgium High School for 41 years. 43 YEARS! When I was in school, he taught us sixth grade and high school band. I was never a great clarinet player - probably a little better than mediocre but the memories I have that surround Mr. Paulson and band are great. When I was in sixth grade, I started in the band and started playing the clarinet. I remember taking time out of class to go to lessons and having a regular class where our entire band played. I had a different teacher for seventh and eigth grade but had Mr Paulson again in high school. We were a marching band, we were a pep band at the sporting events and we were a concert band. At our school, band was cool - I know, but in our school that's how it happened. There were more kids in band than there weren't. Some kids who weren't in band even skipped class to hang out with Mr. Paulson. I mean, even I skipped class to hang out in the band room. I have many memories of just hanging out in the band room, many of which include Taquila being blasted over the speakers and students dancing on the chairs.
When I was a senior, we packed up our band and rode on several coach buses to Florida to perform at Disney World, Bush Gardens and Epcot Center. We spent a week in Florida with our friends and our band and we performed. We won awards. Mr. Paulson didn't take his band to Florida unless he knew we could win. And you didn't just get to go on the trip, you had to memorize your songs, raise money to pay for it and march your ass off. You see, he is a UW-Madison alumn and if you know anything about the UW Band you'll understand.
There are songs like Hey Jude, Stars and Stripes, Chantilly Lace, The Hey Song, Proud Mary that I hear on the radio, on TV or in movies that remind me of band and the fun times we had. I can only hope my daughter grows up to join the school band and has a teacher half as cool as Mr. Paulson.
Thanks for the memories Mr. Paulson!