Ah. Here we are, with four months left to the year, some starting college in merely a week or two. Where has the time gone?

Well, for all who had just graduated, we started the year off on an extremely stressful note. As for me, I had college application submissions due and the Rose Bowl Parade to participate in, right on the first day of the new year. Months later came AP exams and college financial aid applications -- those were something to spend a good amount of worrying, too. High school graduation came upon us shortly afterwards; a time of celebration commemorating the closing of a chapter of our lives, and the start of a new one. This was followed by the least stressful (and most well-timed) summer of our high school/college career -- the summer without the stress of high school summer homework and the worry of anything heavily college-related, just yet.

I chose to spend this chunk of time doing something that I enjoy doing: music. I was blessed to play trombone with the Salvation Army Eastern Territory's Summer Brass, which is essentially a 16-person brass band travelling around states ranging from Kentucky to Maine. As a group, we spent the entirety of our summer travelling to camps to teach at music camps and performed at different venues.

Most definitely, it was a novel experience. For me, I have been more than honored to be working under future bandmaster of the New York Staff Band, Derek Lance, this summer. I have learned and grown in my social and leadership skills, as well as in my spiritual life. I have definitely learned to appreciate brass band music a lot more, as throughout this period of time I've spent a good amount of time familiarizing myself with members of the Staff Bands and brass band pieces. Most of all, though, I absolutely love the close friendships that I have made with all the members of my group.

One thing I know for sure, and one thing that many who worked with any group this summer would know too, is that this summer will be one of very few unforgettable moments in my life. I will miss the closeness that I had with the group I've spent my entire summer with. I'll miss the amazing (and super unhealthy) meals that we've gotten, the many late night trips to eat more fast foods (preferably at Wendy's), and the interesting weeks of having camp meals. I'll miss having my partners-in-crime to spend my free-times with. I'll miss having chorus and brass pieces stuck in my head, and I'll miss complaining about how short some music camps are to be able to get my camp kids to perform anything. Furthermore, I'll miss the nicknames that we've come to label our members of the group with. I'll miss the games that we would play as a group, and the emotional (and entertaining) outbreaks following these games. Man, as reluctant as I am to admit this, I'll eventually miss those 8-hour van rides with only brass band music playing the entire time, too!

It has most definitely been an honor and a privilege to be a part of this group, and I do not regret spending my opportune summer this way. Thank you, Summer Brass! And thank you, Derek!

To Summer Brass 2016:

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*** no alcoholic beverages are intimated with that gif. Obviously.