I saw a high school marching band in central Hat Yai, Thailand, over the weekend. I went down to teach a class on Saturday. As usual, Thailand was fascinating.
There were many touristy hotels and a couple of malls within a few block area that included my own hotel. It was Saturday evening, and a weekly night bazaar was in progress about a block away. I walked out to get some dinner and the band was across the street. They’d been playing in front of another hotel, and they were just leaving for another location.
They were a typical bunch of high school students. They were wearing their school clothes, which had seen better days. There were only about a dozen of them. They played a few saxophones, a couple of trumpets, and mostly drums. They had some talent, and some enthusiasm, and they did seem to be enjoying themselves. They stood, marched and played with that studied casualness that is characteristic of most such endeavors in Thailand.
I heard two of the songs that they played. They were:
1. Jingle Bells (this was June 18th); and
2. The Marine Corps Hymn (“From the halls of Montezuma . . .” etc.)
“Interesting choices,” I thought, as I got more serious about dinner.