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At the beginning of the summer I was on hold with some giant beauracracy, clicking through websites to make the time pass, and came across this article about the importance of marching bands and music education on CNN.com. Vince DiFiore, trumpet player for the band CAKE, wrote it. I'm already a CAKE fan--three-year-old CC knows most of the lyrics to "Short Skirt, Long Jacket"--but his article cemented my love for CAKE.
As an eight-year veteran of polyester uniforms and plumed headwear, I was struck by Vince's passion and the clear argument that he made. In essence: band matters. Music matters. It helps kids grow and develop into confident leaders.

Preaching to the choir, here, Mr. DiFiore. Band was an amazing experience in my life. When I abruptly moved twice in two years (one move took place between my freshman and sophomore years in high school), it was marching band that opened the door to friendships and belonging. As an awkward, unathletic teen, it gave me the sense of cameraderie and competitiveness found in team sports. I represented my school--both high school and college--and had the opportunity to travel across the country, perform on television, and learn leadership and problem-solving skills. Marching band forced me to step outside of comfort zone (no pun intended).

Did I mention that most of my closest friends, including my FabHusband, all marched with me? 

Anyway, I was so struck by DiFiore's straightforward nature in the article that when I finally got through the hold chain, completed my business, and hung up the phone, I dashed off a quick thank-you note, found CAKE's email address, and sent it. I told Vince how much I appreciated that he was using his platform to support music education, and told him how much band had meant to me. I told him about NOTES FROM AN ACCIDENTAL BAND GEEK, and offered to send him a copy as a thank-you (never expecting that an alt-rock star would be interested in a book for tween girls, but hey...why not?). The article also explained that CAKE has partnered with the USSBA (US Scholastic Bands Association), and together are running a super-cool contest for bands across the country (click here for details). How awesome is that?!

So I sent the email message, and kind of forgot about it.

Until Vince wrote back.

And said that he'd love to read NOTES. (And I freaked out and sent it to him immediately, of course!)

And since then he's emailed a few more times...enjoying the book.

Holy crazy, Batman! A bona-fide ROCK STAR, reading my book?!?! And some other things have come from that, which we'll get into later. But...man. I look at how this unfolded, and what occurs to me is that it all goes back to stepping out of your comfort zone, and championing what you believe in.  Although I don't play my instrument any more (flute/piccolo, if you're keeping score), music has never left my life or art. Obviously, it's the central part of NOTES...but it's important to Celeste in MODELS, and even Hamlet has a musical moment in TOTAL TRAGEDY. I frickin' LOVE marching band.

I'm so grateful that Vince DiFiore took the time to respond to my message, but even more so that he took the time to write that article in the first place. I'm grateful to those years I spent in polyester, and the instant connection that experience generates when you meet someone else who is a bona fide band geek.

If you are so inclined, head over to iTunes and show CAKE some support...they have a great new album out.

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• MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING (Dial 2013) was highlighted in the Atlantic Wire's Summer Reading Roundup!

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• Have you seen the TT trailer? Go here & check it out:

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• I've signed stock recently at the following stores:
- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

• Booklist says, "Some sisterly bonding, the sweet flutterings of a first romance, and a creatively contrived comeuppance for the mean girls make [TOTAL TRAGEDY] a cheerful read for younger middle-schoolers."