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Hibike! Euphonium: My regrets

This usually surprises people to find this out about me, but I went to college as a piano performance major.  I didn’t complete college for health reasons, but that was my major.  I attended a medium sized college in Northwest Ohio (you have maybe three to choose from, and I’m very close to telling you which one after all).  And I rank choosing to become a piano performance major to be one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life, and there is very little positive that I’ve taken away from that experience.

I’m one hundred percent, dead serious.  It was the biggest waste of time and money I’ve ever had, before or since.

Anyway, I remember one experience vividly, around thirty years ago now.  I had, foolishly, joined concert chorale.  This was one of the biggest mistakes I made in my college career, and like my college career, I take absolutely nothing positive from that experience.  Anyway, I was foolish enough to join during Christmas season.  I thought, being the stupid college kid I was, that it would just be some concert in the recital hall, and I’d be done with it.

Boy, was I wrong.

Apparently that college went on a tour throughout Northwest Ohio, to different high schools, to perform some of our repertoire.  We’d get a tuxedo (or dress, for the women), get on a bus, drive to different high schools, stay overnight in a hotel in Lima, and drive back home the next day, performing all the way.

My second biggest regret is that I didn’t just say “hell no”, take the F, and drop out of that class.  But of course I didn’t.  I went to that two day hell on earth with my classmates, and I hated absolutely every minute of it.  It was hell.  It was worse than hell.  We went to high schools after high school, one of which had had a fire the previous night, and sang and sang.  At one school, a co-student locked her knees and collapsed.  She ended up going to the hospital.

Then we went to the hotel, and I had to share the hotel with three other guys, and I hated it.

As it stands, I am having a hard time finding words to explain how absolutely rotten of an experience that was.  It was one of the worst experiences of my life, I can’t remember anything that was even remotely good or fun about it, and if I could excise the memory from my brain I’d be far better off.  Even the most fun parts about it were awful.  And that’s just a small fraction of the absolute loathing I have for that memory.

I tell this story, because it’s formative to me.  I can’t imagine ever experiencing anything like that again, and now I would probably just say “hell no”, and run faster than I’m probably physically capable to just get the hell away from there.

I watched “Hibike! Euphonium” a while ago.

It was profoundly impactful to me.

It wasn’t for the reason it is to many people.  I thought it had a good story, good music, good animation, all that.  But the biggest impact it had to me, was that the main character, Kumiko, went to events very similar (in some ways) to the ones I’m referring to, and she didn’t hate it.  What kind of magic is this?  Going to an event with a bunch of other students, or band camp, or even a concert, and not hating it?

I still haven’t quite gotten over that.  How do these students manage to go to school – high school, college, middle school, whatever… and not hate it?

Maybe if I find the answer to that question…  I’ll be on the way to understanding something about myself.

And Dr. Hodge?

It wasn’t your fault, entirely, but I still haven’t forgiven you for that experience.  Thirty years later, and I still have PTSD.  Thanks a bunch.

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