Mr. Athayde was crazy. Everyone knew that. Erin's brother said so, and so did Andy, and he was in 8th grade.
But summer came to an end and I, stupidly, signed up for 6th grade band. On top of that, I "decided" to join the 7:00 am beginners' jazz band: Our dog was named Thelonious after all.
I quickly understood what Erin's brother meant. Mr. Athayde was crazy. Absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt, nuts. We'd spend entire classes just listening to records. He devoted weeks to just breathing. One day in particular, he lectured for 45 minutes about the proper way to hold a bass drum mallet.
He took introductory band more seriously than I had taken anything in my life up to that point. Mr. Athayde screamed at me more times that first year than my parents had in my first 12. When I played out of turn or made a snide comment to Trevor, I'd find myself scraping gum off the pavement outside the band room.
But I learned fast.