The Academy

Photo by Katrina Krallitsch; photo provided by author

No, not the Academy that awards people with Oscars. The full name of this Academy is the Chicago Academy for the Arts. It’s a performing and visual arts high school, kind of like Fame, although to be honest, I’ve never seen that movie lol; I just know the song, and you probably do too.

The Academy was a small school at about 150 students. Everyone had a major: art, music, dance, theater. Everyone knew each other, and everyone was loved. No one was bullied because we were the ones who were targets at our previous schools. We were misfits.

I transferred from public school to the Academy at the start of my junior year. I was really into music then, playing percussion instruments/drums, and I was one of only two girls in the percussion section in band. I was already gawky and awkward. This made me feel even more so.

One day, we were having juries, in which the band instructor judged our musical ability and performance in front of the whole band. I played a solo piece on the snare drum. The band director told me —  in front of everybody — that what I performed wasn’t music: “That’s not music.”

Well, it is a snare drum, so of course it won’t have a melody, duh. I don’t know what he expected, but I was mortified because this happened in front of everybody. Right away I considered quitting band, even though I loved it.

Fortunately, my mom came across an article about the Academy. She thought I might be interested, and I begged her to let me audition. This consisted of playing my instrument (I chose the whole drum set instead of just the snare), and an interview with some of the faculty (probably the same ones who were at my audition).

When I received the acceptance letter, I was ecstatic! If it weren’t for Mr. Mean Band Director, I wouldn’t have gone to the Academy, so thank you, Mr. MBD! /sarcasm

Were you picked on in school?

One thought on “The Academy

  1. Mr. Mean was definitely cruel to say the very least. What a jerk!

    From the time I was a little kid, straight through high school, I was in a chorus or a Concert Choir. I was one of two sopranoes one’s. I sang with a group of 175-250 students, it was magnificent. I loved being a part of it. I was never picked on by classmates in/out of the choir, but my own younger brother and sister thought I was a nerd and a geek for being part of what I so loved.
    I naturally ignored them berating me for years, but the funniest thing of all was when I belonged to a band after I graduated, and was playing in clubs… They wanted to see me then. Idiots!

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