Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MTV visits my house

Well, it's been an interesting turn of events. I got a call on Sunday from a film producer for MTV who wanted to come over to my house to film my daughter and her friends as they chat.

It's for a reality show coming up about the kids in the high school marching band, called "Band Geeks". Unfortunately, it turned out that not enough parents at the school signed up for it, because they thought it would be a distraction and would affect the school's competitive ability, so it's not going to happen with our school. They may move on to try another school now. It will still have to be in Texas though, because MTV has checked around the rest of the country and the schools outside Texas don't take band and band competitions as seriously as they do here. Here, it is probably a bit over the top. Texas schools actually buy their band shows from professional companies. The music, the arrangements, the themes, the choregraphy, the whole works. You have to see them to believe it.

With our school, there are 300 kids in the band this year. They have their own tractor trailer with the School band logo on the side. When they arrive at an event, it's 6 large busloads plus the tractor trailor. There are elaborate props, gear, hydraulic lifts for solo platforms, etc. The drumline has won the national championships 10 years in a row, and so this year they are not allowed to compete anymore as a drumline. These kids practice from 7:15am to 7pm in 105 degree heat in the summer - for a month before school even starts. They play in heat, cold, and pouring rain of biblical proportions. The extreme absolute discipline they show in the performance and before and after the show is astounding and impressive. They're more like US Marines than teenagers. They are also respectful, polite, and all advanced level, first rate students academically. I was never a fan of high school band music, but this band gave me a sound appreciation for it. This is my daughter's 3rd year, and I have grown to really like it.

The directors of the band are first-rate as well. Highly professional and knowledgable, and from my experience, I would say they come across as true leaders in every respect. This is the school I wanted my daughter to attend. And this is the group within that school I wanted my daughter to belong to. These are the 'good' kids. The polite kids. The top achievers. The lessons she learns here and the standards she sets for herself here are absolutely invaluable for her for the rest of her life.

But now MTV will probably have to move on to another school because they didn't get the support and agreement they needed from this one.

Too bad, because they said some things to imply that my daughter and her friends, who all hang out at our place, would possibly be the 6 stars of the show, and some amount of the series would have been filmed at our house.
When they came in, they noticed my live band stage setup upstairs, with the large PA system, and the lighting stands, smoke machine, etc. And they noticed my recording studio, and they were asking me about that stuff, asking about my band and my music, etc.
Since the parents of the 6 would have been involved, I guess I would have been involved. I don't know if I would have been painted as the crazy dad with 20 guitars and a rock band and a recording studio, etc. or if they would have painted me as the cool dad. They could go either way and time would tell. But it's not going to happen now anyway, so the question has been rendered academic.

It did make for an interesting Sunday. Well, that and the fact that the airline lost my mother-in law at the airport last night - ah, but that's another story....


At 8/22/2006 8:51 PM, Blogger Ptelea said...

I'm wondering how the school and the band comes up with all of the money for this (their own tractor trailer with the School band logo on the side, etc). Do you have to do a lot of fund-raising?

The MTV thing would have been interesting!

At 8/23/2006 8:30 AM, Anonymous lauren said...

The MTV thing coulda been weird. I'm sure the moments that the girls would have thought were the "best" would have never made it on air, and the most embarrassing/things they didn’t want to get on air would have most definitely been broadcast to the world.

At 8/23/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

Well, the eighteen wheeler tractor trail er was donated by one of the band parents. Some people in this area have money.
But the rest of the stuff is collect by a combination of band fees paid by parents like me, and fund-raising events. The fund-raising events are done by both the kids AND the parents. There are the usual car washes, etc. But also the parents actually run the concession stand for the common high school stadium shared by three highschools. The profits from that go to the band.
Also the parents volunteer to serve food and drunkis at Texas Motor Speedway, by delivering trays to the boxes all day long for a weekend a month. They work as waiters/waitresses for a full day, and then the speedway donates $100 to the band. Then the parents also throw in any tips they make as well. It's very organized. It's very much like a second job for some parents - or a main full-time job for parents like my wife who don't work elsewhere for money.
Way WAY over the top.....
I'll take some pictures and add them to this post a little later once they start playing performances. Right now it's all practices.

You are probably right. And that did occur to me, so as I walked out of the room just before they started filming, I said "Just remember guys - anything you say about the other kids in the band will be on tape."
I'm sure the MTV crew just cringed when I said that because that's probably exactly what they were looking for. Teenage girls being catty about each other. And they are probably not wrong. I suspect that 80% of what they talk about is each other.
But I'm just guessing - I don't listen at the door or anything.


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