The tuba was not my first choice of instrument. I did not want to play the tuba. My sisters and I all played the violin. My older sister played the clarinet, another sister played the trombone … but in high school they needed more tuba players, and I’ve stuck with it.
I wasn’t going to do band in college but one day we were in the library in high school, and one of my friends said, “You’re going to need more scholarship money. You can either do ROTC or band, which one do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m gonna do ROTC.”
But my pastor was like, “You should go to NC Central and play.” His daughter went to Central and she was like, “The band was my favorite part you should just audition and see what happens!”
At the audition I was so nervous. I couldn’t figure out how to play the notes on the page! But when we got done, the band director was like, “You sound really good! I’ll see you in the fall.” And I was like, “Oh, I’m gonna be marching for the band!”
Maybe two weeks before band camp, though, I decided I wasn’t going to do it. I had psyched myself out because I came from a school that marches “corps style” and the Sound Machine marches “traditional style.” (It’s the difference between how you move your feet when you’re marching.) Also in high school, we did one routine the whole school year. But in the Sound Machine we change shows every week!
But I’m really glad I stayed with band. We’ll be on the field on a Monday, and know we have to learn new music, and new drill but it’s like, “We’re here together, we love it.”
And then on performance night to hear the crowd cheer … it just warms your heart because you’re around like-minded individuals and y’all are here for a common goal — even if you do mess up, at the end of the day, one band one sound, you know?
– Zenobia Dowdy is a summer intern in Sanford’s communications office. She will graduate in December from NC Central University, a historically Black college, with a degree in Mass Communications. She marched three years for the NCCU Sound Machine Marching Band. #HumansofDukeSanford #staff