I went to Xavier's girls basketball regional game against Omro on March 1. I hadn't been to a basketball game at Xavier, my alma mater, for a few years. My niece was playing in the pep band and my high school teammate was coaching the Hawks.
As I walked in with my wife, the band was playing and I couldn't hear very well. Xavier's gym is renowned for being loud. The band played some new songs but there were enough old songs to bring back a lot of wonderful memories.
I enjoyed watching my kids play in the Neenah High School marching band and the pep band. The one problem with Neenah's Armstrong Fieldhouse is that it's so big. Sure, you can do a lot in it, but it doesn't become as crazy a madhouse with the crowd cheering and the band playing as it can at Xavier.
Xavier didn't have a marching band when I went there. I loved watching the Neenah marching band come out onto the field, with the drumline playing cadence. During football season, I can hear the band from my backyard. There are times when that drumline has that cadence down perfect and the snare drum sounds just snap and crack. Those sounds bring back lots of great memories.
My daughter played for the University of Minnesota marching band and the pep band. I went to a several football and basketball games. I still remember the football game against Penn State in the Metrodome. Toward the end of the game, it was so loud, I literally "could not hear myself think." Of course, sitting next to the band only added to the craziness.
Have you been to a college football game, especially one with a band? The band plays snippets of songs all the time. Every first down earned gets a tune. Many schools play either tolling bells or "The Imperial March" from Star Wars on third down.
Some songs just seem made for a certain situation. Serendipity or what, some songs just seem made for certain moments. Did Gary Glitter intend "Rock and Roll Part 2" as a stadium anthem at pro football games? But where would we be without it?
Movies work so hard to get their music right. When I hear the "Jaws" theme, it takes me back to the anticipation of mayhem when the shark attacks.
TV shows have theme music, too. Whether it's the theme to "The Brady Bunch" or "Gilligan's Island" or even "Hawaii Five-0," it's the springboard to a lot of memories.
When I hear Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times," I go right back to the Wisconsin International Raceway during the 1970s, when I was usually on my own, goofing around and watching my dad.
I've often thought that we all should have theme music. When my wife and I began dating, I scoured my brothers' and sisters' collection of 45s for a song for us. I came up with the Vogues' "You're the One." The processional at the end of our wedding was Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
I came up with a pretty good playlist of songs for my marathons. I was always finding new songs and replacing old ones. They had to have a good beat to keep my pace steady. It must have helped. I dropped more than 30 minutes from my first marathon time five years ago to the four I did last summer and fall.
My daughter is getting married this fall and she's working on the playlist for her reception. She told me I had to pick out a song for our father/daughter dance. That took all of 10 seconds as I've had the song "Fathers and Daughters" by Paul Simon in my mind for that moment ever since I first heard it.
When my dad died, I had been working on putting together a slideshow of pictures of his life. One time, I played it back on my wife's laptop. The program added some random music and it brought me to tears. It wasn't even special music. I had watched that slideshow several times before and never had that reaction.
Music does soothe the savage beast. And it riles them up at Lambeau Field. It helps keeps memories alive and makes the good times great.
- Jeff Spoehr is a Neenah resident and a Post-Crescent Community Columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org