My experience with high school band was not unlike Matt’s. I’m not sure it saved my life, but it made it more bearable. I didn’t fit anywhere else - I wasn’t a jock, a cheerleader, a stoner or any of the other fill-in-the-blank cliques. Band gave me a home. It was probably the most diverse group on our little campus. I made lifelong friends there.
College band was the same for me, at least until I got into my fourth year and started hanging out at the newspaper office with my fellow JM majors.
Also, Matt: Trumpet players = the football players of band. And that’s not a compliment.