All Together Now

By:

Hey gang!

I’ve been thinking about getting the band back together for a reunion tour.

I believe I speak for all of us when I say that graduating high school broke us up much too soon — that the Northview Knights (Classes of 86-88) ended on the worst possible note.

We deserved better than that, if you ask me. My mom thinks so, too.

That’s why I’m working to organize something on a national scale this go-around — not just Friday night football games and Fourth of July parades down Main Street.

The big-shot L.A. agent I found on the Internet says it’s a simple matter of getting the former band members on board with my idea. He should know. He’s worked with famous acts like Journey and that one band with that one song.

Of course, I’m sure you’re as delighted with the idea of a reunion tour as I am. Maybe you even had the same thought, but didn’t have the free time and family support necessary to draft a legally binding contract and a friendly little cover letter like this one.

Really, I shouldn’t take all the credit. My mom’s been an enormous help.

She understands how important marching band was to all of us — with the possible exception of the Wilkinson twins, the third and fourth chair trombonists with the issues that landed them in prison the summer after high school.

Marching band was the beacon of hope that guided the rest of us through those dark, painful years of teen despair.

If you’re like me, you want to see that glimmer of hope one more time before you get old and die.

Also, I would hate to name names, but I know a clarinetist or two who could use the extra money. Those diet pills don’t pay for themselves, do they, ladies?

I’m open to conversation about this, but I don’t think we should bring a squad of flag twirlers on this tour. All those tramps ever did for us back in the day was initiate our drummers into manhood. My mom says those girls probably all ended up in dirty movies, but I’ve never seen anyone I recognize and the big-shot L.A. agent hasn’t heard of them.

Dumping the flag squad, the Wilkinsons and any other former Knights not allowed to cross state lines will leave us with extra room on the bus. That’s why I’m trying to find somebody who worked in the school’s A/V department and still has access to video recording equipment. We need a friend of the band traveling with us, documenting our reunion for a DVD we can sell at our gigs and on the Internet.

It’s true! The big-shot L.A. agent says that anybody can have an Internet site. It doesn’t matter if you work out of a fancy office on the coast or rent a room in your mom’s basement.

Without that DVD, we’re going to have a pretty sparse merchandise table: just the t-shirts and temporary tattoos I got for cheap. Remember the school mascot Northview used before state attorneys notified them that what the Knight character was depicted doing to the Native American character was neither historically accurate nor politically correct? Well, he’s still our mascot.

If you find yourself talking to former band members who aren’t so excited about the reunion idea, dangle that merch revenue in front of them. Let that big green carrot do the talking. If there’s one thing I learned as the drum major of the Northview Knights, it was that you have to do whatever it takes to get folks going in the same direction. This time that direction is aimed at the bottom line.

My mom says my business thinking and leadership skills are why I deserve to be paid more than the rest of you. But don’t worry, guys. We’ll be splitting DVD, t-shirt and temporary tattoo revenues — just not 50/50.

If we wind up getting offered our own reality TV show out of this reunion tour, we’ll renegotiate. Or at least talk about it. The big-shot L.A. agent says that’s how things usually work.

But I’m ahead of myself.

To make sure this reunion is the biggest possible payday it can be for all of us, we’ll be keeping tour expenses to an absolute minimum. No more of those ridiculous wool uniforms that need to be dry-cleaned after every performance. Instead, we’ll be hitting the field in matching velour running suits my mom found in the JCPenney catalog. Not only are mine and my mom’s comfy! They’re fashionable, too.

I’ve also put down a layaway payment on a portable fog machine — a secondhand Phantom Gun 2404 — to distract attention from sloppy marching patterns, since that was always a problem for us.

What about the music, you’re probably thinking. I’ve also given that some thought.

I seem to remember that not everyone turned in their sheet music at the end of each semester like they were supposed to, so the band shouldn’t have to purchase rights for all of the tunes we’ll play. With any luck, some of us will still have our parts memorized. As long as we don’t go posting mp3s of our shows all over the Internet, the big-shot L.A. agent says copyright infringement shouldn’t be a problem.

His replies to my many e-mails have been nothing but encouraging.

And I still have my drum major baton, I’m pretty sure. If I can’t dig it up, I’ll expense a new one.

It all sounds too good to be true, I realize. But this reunion really is that sweet, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity everyone imagines when buying lottery tickets at the Stop-n-Go to keep from crying.

But unlike those losing lottery tickets, these odds are in our favor.

To cash in. To live the dream. To travel this great nation of ours in a decommissioned school bus that’s been re-built to run on bio-diesel because it’s better for the environment and I think I can arrange an endorsement deal.

It’s now or never, people. If we wait another 20 years, we’ll only embarrass ourselves.

So complete the contract I’ve sent along with this letter and return it in triplicate as soon as possible. I’ve got a big yellow envelope stamped and ready to mail. All I’m lacking are signed contracts from the band and that big-shot L.A. agent’s street address.

Need I mention again that our environmentally friendly tour bus is going to be mobbed after every show by passionate groupies interested in nothing more than deflowering the virgins among us?

My mom hates it when I bring up the lovemaking, but I’ll be out of her house soon, so I don’t care.

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