Events Links Resources

From The 13th Chair Trombone Player

Humorous and inspiring author DJ Corchin offers his unique observations about life in the world of marching bands.

Share this page:

View all 13th Chair articles

Archived entries

Seen and Heard at BOA 2018

Seen and Heard at BOA 2017

Double Thumbs Up for the Mighty

Seen and Heard at BOA 2015

Seen and Heard at BOA 2014

Seen and Heard at BOA 2013

Moonwalking & Humble Juice


Seen and Heard at BOA 2012

When I Grow Up...

Seen and Heard at BOA 2011

This one time...

The Outside Looking In, Looking Out

Don't You Judge Me

Grand(e) Nationals

Seen and Heard at BOA 2010

Nerds vs. Geeks

Ripped Jeans And Self-Esteem

Sport, Art, or...Spart?

Gimme Some Props

An Alternate Universe

Also see

Drum Corps Tribute: The Unscalable Wall

Poetry book delivers humorous observations of band life

Get the books

Home > From The 13th Chair Trombone Player > Seen and Heard at BOA 2013

From The 13th Chair Trombone Player:
Seen and Heard at BOA 2013

Ankles taped. Knees wrapped. Spit emptied. And that was just the audience. You could feel the excitement in the air and see the passion prominently displayed by parents in the form of buttons of their children in uniform awkwardly smiling affixed to their pit crew shirts with slightly inappropriate sayings on it. Ah yes, Grand Nationals was here. You could smell it in the air. And it smelled like fried foods and pride. Now it's time for the annual TOP 20 Hilarious Things Seen or Overheard at Grand Nationals 2013!

By DJ Corchin
Posted November 18, 2013

Every year I look forward to making the long and tenuous journey through cornfields and windmills sipping my premium coffee while I listen to various radio stations fade in and out of existence. This year, like others was totally worth it. once again was kind enough to sponsor me at their booth to come and sign books, meet new people, and kiss babies. (There was really only one baby and the mom didn't want me kissing him. I mean I understood. It hurt, but I understood.) The Bands of America Grand National Finals is truly a unique experience with unpredictability at every turn...or flank...or whatever. One might see, when you least expect it, an arm wrestling match between two dads as a celebration of music education. The event is one of my favorites as the marching arts and music education combine in an exciting and elaborate spectacle. Here are some of the fun things I saw on and off the field as I sneaked around this year.

In no particular order except when in a particular order:
  1. Abraham Lincoln taking pictures in the lobby.
  2. A solo by a bassoon being illuminated by LED lights hoisted on top of a ladder. I'm sure if all bassoon solos were like this more kids will want to play bassoon. Maybe.
  3. Tuba pedal note feature on the 50 yard line with mics! It's like finally farts got the respect they deserve.
  4. The 13th Chair 50 brides with husbands attached to poles by their feet and then slammed the dudes face-first into the ground. I...I don't know what to say except, I'm sorry. Whatever I did, I'm sorry. Whatever I will do, I'm sorry. Honey. I love you.
  5. A guard who ate too many Skittles.
  6. A snake being played for a solo. Sounded great but it had to be uncomfortable for the snake.
  7. Fire Tarp. Do you go to the tarp store and ask, "Soooo, what do you have in fire?"
  8. 10,000 audience members crying at the same time. Oh Bette Midler, what you do to us.
  9. In line at concessions: Dude: "I think I'm going to have the Homestyle Pot Roast Sandwich." Girl: "Really? You play tuba." Dude: "What do you mean by that?" Girl: "I'm just saying you could try to make better life decisions."
  10. An entire dancing band trapped by possessed train signals. I'm so glad they got out.
  11. A shipwreck on the field. I know that sounds bad, but I mean it literally.
  12. Mr. Hyde doing battle with a french horn to Britney Spears Toxic. No additional comment necessary.
  13. Feather masks so high I have no choice but to call them "face plumes."
  14. 200 mad killer clown musicians somehow all finding serenity making beautiful music together. Although I now have a phobia of drum majors...well more than before.
  15. Entire guard with giant golden spears who clearly weren't afraid to use them.
  16. No flute solo in your show? Dork.
  17. Lamp heads! Lamp Heads! Lamp Heads!
  18. Dude 1: "Look what I got. Orange flavored reeds!" Dude 2: "That's stupid." Dude 1: "No I don't think you understand. They're orange flavored reeds." Dude 2: "Oh you're right. Now I get it. You're awesome."
  19. An entire band worshiping a girl with '80s hair along with proper '80s patterned pink spandex and neon hoops. Every band needs a vision of something to believe in. Why not that?
  20. Is it me or is Tinkerbell a little cray cray?

BONUS: 3 dudes in the bathroom at the urinals singing through their show...with passion. Yeah, that happened ;)

About the Author: DJ Corchin is author of the celebrated humorously inspiring Band Nerds book series including Band Nerds Poetry From The 13th Chair Trombone Player and The Marching Band Nerds Handbook. You can follow his blog to catch his thoughts in real time. He was a featured performer in the first national Broadway tour of the Tony and Emmy award winning show, BLAST! where he was best known as the "unicycling trombonist." Now living and working in Chicago as a children's author, his other publications are available world wide and include Sam & The Jungle Band, You Got A Boogie, I Feel... Children's Book Series, and ThunderFeet. A former high school band director, he continues to be involved in marching bands and music education through speaking events, competitions, and organizations such as Music for All. Mr. Corchin welcomes your comments via email. For more of his work please visit Mr. Corchin is an independent contributor so his views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of

Text by DJ Corchin. Trombone illustration by Dan Dougherty.

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published or redistributed without permission.

2023 DCI Championships Photos

2023 DCI Photos

2023 Fall Marching Band Events

Facebook on Facebook

Working on your next marching show? Find Band Uniforms and select Marching Band Music Arrangers in the Resource section.

Support Music logo