Marching Contest Mayhem

Saturday was about as perfect of a Saturday as you're going to get here in North Texas. I think the morning started in the 40's, but it was quick to warm up to a gorgeous day. Which was wonderful, since Ashley and I were out in it all day long, as she has been every Saturday in October.

As I have mentioned (often), Ashley is in marching band, which keeps all of us busy since I like to volunteer and help out with such activities. Now, especially since I am new in town, I like to get to know the other parents, and I like knowing the kids my daughter spends so much time around. And, as suspected, marching band kids are a sweet group of kids. If a bit odd in their humor.

Saturday was the "Big Show" for the band. Area UIL Marching Competition. (Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN -- that was scary music...). Thirty bands performing at their top level, starting at 8 in the morning. Finalists announced at 6 p.m. Then the 10 finalists have to perform AGAIN starting at 7:45 p.m. The top 6 of those will go to the State Marching Competition. Oh, the drama.

Thankfully, we had a late performance time so that we didn't have to sit out there all the day. The band warmed up/ did a run through at one of their home stadiums, got lunch, then loaded buses for the contest. The adults were in charge of handing out the lunches, decorating the buses (these volunteers go the extra mile!), then making sure everyone was on said buses. I ended up on Ashley's bus, which is okay as long as I don't acknowledge her -- unless I have something she wants, like a water bottle. You know.

So I claim my spot on the school bus, naturally in front of the only kid on the entire bus that still feels the need, at age 15, to shout every word he says. Bless him. Heard some band jokes that I think were funny -- if you are in band. Not sure. That 30 minute ride didn't seem nearly as long as the one later in the day.

We unload, being sure we have all the kids again. While the kids are getting uniforms on and warming up, I get chatted up by some excessively friendly dad. Next thing I know, I'm signed up to haul some piece of percussion onto the field for the performance. Okay.

That wasn't really the difficult part. It was hauling this piece of equipment that weighed the same as Alfred Hitchcock's dead body from the back parking lot, past the stadium, through the front parking lot, then across the street for warm up (probably about 1/4 mile). THEN back across the street, through the front parking lot, up to the stadium to wait for the signal. Have I mentioned that all of this is under intense time pressure?

 Of course, AFTER I have struggled and groaned and tried not to sound like a wimp (I am WOMAN! I WILL haul these chimes!!) The band kids tell me very sympathetically, "Oh, yeah. Those are SO hard. And one of the tires is messed up, too." Nice. Why isn't there a nice football player dude to do this?
So they go, I haul my dead-body-weight-chimes, they march their little hearts out, it is AWESOME as always, I drag my dead-body-weight-chimes off the field (and around the track and back out to the parking lot to our equipment truck). Whew. Now to watch the other bands.

Oh, stars, have I mentioned the productions? You just wouldn't believe. Thankfully, our awesome and wonderful band director did not incorporate any props into this year's show. Because you know who ends up dragging props on and off the field. Uh-huh...

We have seen ferris wheels, small cages (but large enough for band members -- an idea!), playground equipment, Oh -- creepiest ever was a band that played 12 different renditions of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" while the color guard did a Cirque de Soleil type acrobat thing on a tripod type stand with ribbon. Weird. I can't even describe the entire set they drug out for King Midas' reign. It's just staggering.

We only had to wait through 2 or 3 other bands until hearing if we made it to the top 10. And... we did! Woohoo! Perform first! At 7:45... hmmmm... we tried to tell ourselves that was an advantage and everyone do great and go! fight! win! Yay!

The band director did let the kids know that they came in 9th out of 10 -- so there would have to be work to be done if they were going to make the top 6. I also want to give a shout-out to the band student leadership: section leaders and drum majors. Just a fabulous group of kids that the rest of the band really responded to. It was cool to watch them in action.

So... you know what I had to do with my dead-body-weight-chimes, don't you? Oh, yeah.... across, past, across, across, to warm up. Then back again. (Oh, by now Troy had joined me and was helping. And one time we almost knocked them over on a speed bump. Good times! :-) I got to hear how much the adorable little redhead girl thinks my daughter is awesome. I got to hear that the uber-loud kid that sat behind me on the bus can speak at a normal volume, and is actually a nice kid.

One more time, they went, I hauled, they marched their hearts out. We clapped and cheered. I hauled again. And we waited. In the cold. After the sun went down, the air became quite cold again. We watched most of the other bands perform. The highlight was TCU's band that performed while we were waiting to hear results. They were AMAZING.

Alas, with the results, we learned that marching season was over for the band. Still so proud of all of them. They made 9th again.
 I think the "no props" thing was a handicap which, IMO, is totally bogus: is it marching competition or is it dramatic presentation competition? Craziness. Anyway, I think everyone is a little relieved to be through with the drama and the intensity of it all.

Then, at 11 p.m., we loaded the buses back to school, and Mr. Loud Talker had not reduced his volume any. Annnnd about 5 minutes out from school, he TRIED singing "Frosty, the Snowman," but didn't even know the words. I told him I was going to get his Fine Arts grade lowered until he learned.

Very long day. Cannot describe how sore I was the next day (I also ran 4.5 miles before this little chime-hauling escapade, BTW). So very proud of my girl, her band, and all the work that they did. Love that I am able to be a part of it.


Kareneneill said...

Wow! So proud of you! I have tried to avoid lugging equipment this year since I have no idea what is really going on! I have been riding the coed bus to out of town games. This has been very interesting. I know know where Rockdale, Texas is located. ( I had done ok not knowing.) I have learned that 16 year olds don't think we can hear, we can. Also if they don't see us, we aren't there! When in reality we (parent) walked by them and laid down on the bus seat while the kids were chatting. Too funny! I know you are loving every minute of it, well most of the time. Enjoy and savor these moments. My niece is a senior and just performed at her last home game last night. I am not ready for the lasts, but I am trying to soak up every moment!!!

Jamie Kocur said...

I love your writing. I laughed out loud at several parts.

Sarah S. said...

Thanks, Jamie! If I'm going to tell such a drawn-out story, I at least want you to enjoy it. Glad you stopped by.

Sarah S. said...

Aren't the teens so funny to be around. Kind of... :-) Yes, it is a time to be cherished. Yet it's okay if some parts hurry. Like sitting in front of the loud talker.

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