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Palo Duro Band
Going into a new band with new rules and new jobs is really hard when you have no idea of what you are doing. Also with no one you know in there with you. Summer Band 2007. The new beginning of my year going into marching band. The most toughest thing that I had to learn. Until I was informed that I had to not only march in front of an audience, but also play the music provided, memorized with the march. Weeks were given to all of us "freshman" to learn how to play and to learn how to put it with the march. The most scariest part for me was, I didn't know anybody in the band. Except for a few sophomores that I was in band during my middle school year. There was help for me though, my "section" which are the flutes really welcomed me into the band and helped me understand the basics of marching. The exciting weeks of summer were turned into "Marching Rehearsals." Waking up to go to band and forcibly having to be there at 7:55 a.m. and go home at 12:00 p.m. Was a real pain, but also coming back again at 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. Was a really frustrating moment for me. Also for other people, our first march in Dick Bivins was really nerve racking
I almost forgot where to go and when to play. When I first set foot on the field it was breathtaking, the view of the audience was insane. The view of the sky was different when I was finally on the Marching field. The sun was setting with the colors of light orange descending in a reddish-pink haze. Our drum major, Lorena, was ready on the stands to conduct us. "Horns, Up!" we were prepared waiting for her to count us off to play. The crowd was in dead silence ready for us to play. My fingers started to tremble in fear, it all came down to our first performance to set a standard for the other bands to see that we are unstoppable.
" Five, six, seven, eight!" Our march finally began. I played with all my might to prove that we are the best of the best. My heart was pounding at the end of the march, I was thrilled to know that we made it to the end with no mess-ups or embarrassing falls. Once we marched off the field we were proud of our first performance and also very tired. By the end of the game it was already going to be about 11:00 p.m.
Thinking that I still needed to go to school early for band once again, I thought I would never survive it. By the time we got to the band hall it was already midnight. Everyone was tired and sleepy, but mostly tired. Our band director Mr. Doughten congratulated us on our first performance and hoped to see more improvements in the morning. Once again, I headed off to school early in the morning, and just for my luck we went outside at 7:25 a.m. and we didn't come back inside until 9:45 a.m. Which I wasn't very fond of doing because it was very humid and my hair was straightened and both of them together do not combine well. Once we were inside, everyone was out of breath and tired. I looked at the board to see if anything was coming up, and typically another football game was coming up and I was in no mood to go home at midnight.
Throughout the months of marching band we gradually improved on both marching and our music. Then marching contest was coming soon and we were all nervous and anxious to show people that Palo Duro high school band was going to win their 9th consecutive sweepstake. We practiced hard and we played non-stop to make our band unbeatable. The months turned into weeks and the weeks turned into days. We counted off the days and soon enough there were only two days left. The freshman were advised not to talk at all once we were on the bus, since it was traditional not to do so. Once marching contest was here you could feel the pressure in the air the minute you stepped in the band hall.
There was a quiet presence around the room. Everyone was fierce, with determination in their eyes and no movement went on, once we loaded up on the bus. We headed off once again to Dick Bivins, the bus was dead quiet and you could almost see no movement in anyone. On the way to Dick Bivins I gazed outside the window, everything looked different. The sun's reflection bounced off of the window that made a warm light that hit my face. The parking lot seemed so much bigger once we had gotten there. The second I got off of the bus my heart started to beat faster and faster as I started to think about the contest more and more. Now we were getting off of the bus and my heart kept feeling as if it was about to jump out of my chest.
We stood outside of the bus standing in a horseshoe shape not moving at all just waiting for our instructions on where to go. Mr. Doughten came towards us and prepared us to play a warm-up so we wouldn't sound flat or sharp. As we played the warm up I could feel that my fingers were trembling with nervousness. We finished playing the warm-up and I could feel the tension in all of us. "Are we ready?" Mr. Doughten said with confidence, a sudden smile came across him going from ear to ear.
Out of all the long agonizing days and nights, football games, and going outside of Amarillo to play our marching music, It all came down to this. There was no turning back. "Were ready!" the whole band just shouted with motion of happiness and as if nothing could put us down. Our time was near and we could hear the crowd applauding once the other band was done. We quickly went into position to enter the stadium, my heart was in great fear of falling or tripping but I knew I would be ok. Lorena stood in front of us and stared at us to see if we were ready to enter. I stared at her once our eyes met making sure that I would be able to go when she marked us off.
Her back was turned towards us giving the signal that we were ready to enter. The quads struck four times making the signal for us to enter. We finally started to march into the stadium with our heads slightly high. We were finally on the field, to where we were almost touching the turf of the field. Lastly we did our final warm-up, and went into our positions to enter. This was it, Lorena was in front of us watching for our eyes once more.
She lifted up her whistle up to her mouth and blew it four times to count us off, and we finally started to march on the field. Once in position Lorena climbed at the top of the conducting ladder. "Horns, Up!" Our time was up and this was our time to finally show people that all our hard work came to this. One last glare at Lorena made me really nervous, and I just wanted to run off the field but I knew that there was no backing down now. " Five, six, seven, eight!" and we started.
My mind was going crazy on the field, it felt like I made so many mistakes and could cost us our 1st division, but I knew that I was doing great. We were down to our final piece of the song, my adrenaline was pumping and I thought the whole band was doing extremely well. We finally began our last and final piece of the music and it was my most absolutely favorite of all. I had the beat in my head over and over through the march.
We were halfway through the song and I could finally think about what was coming ahead, the dreaded pinwheel turn. My whole thoughts were about the counts of the turns and if I was going to fall if I didn't turn quickly enough. I finally came down to the last turn and at that point I was sweating and I could barely breathe. I finally hit the last turn, and successfully made it .
We finally finished we were all just standing there, heads slightly tilted up, we were really tired but the crowd loved it. We had the most and loudest cheers than any other bands. Marching out the field seemed different to me, as if everybody had changed or as if I had barely known them. As the whole band sat down on the benches, to watch the remaining bands play, the other bands had voices buzzing around of our performance.
The last band finally got off the field, and our band just waited anxiously to hear the ratings. The whole stadium went quiet, staring at the tower where the judges were. “ The judges have made their ratings, and they are ready to reveal them to the bands.” A voice over the intercom sounded staticky as it fought through the wind.
“Caprock High School Band… Division 1!” “Amarillo High School Band…division 1!” Our band just sat in utter shock that those two bands would get a division 1, which we thought was really unfair. One of those two bands were over the time limit and should have been disqualified, and the other band was just hard to understand what they were doing out in the field. We were the last and final band waiting to hear our results. “Palo Duro High School Band.”
This was the moment we were all waiting for, through the arguments and the pain of waking up early and going home late on school nights. All of that is finally behind us now. Before the announcer was waiting for our results to be given out, the whole band just gathered together as close as we could. My mind was going crazy the long suspense was unbearable. “ Division...1!”
The whole crowd cheered as the whole band stood up and yelled with happiness. You could see the happiness in our faces and there were few tears of joy strolling down our cheeks. As the other bands were heading to their busses to go back to their school, they took one last glance at us. As the stadium became empty we sat their waiting for our band director Mr. Doughten to come back and to tell us the usual about our performance.
As Mr. Doughten came walking up the stairs, we all stood up and clapped for him. We were all proud of our performance, and we congratulated Mr. Doughten for all the work he did for us and for not giving up when we were at our worst. Once on the bus, all of us freshman got congratulated for our first division one and for doing an outstanding performance. We arrived at the band hall and we got to see the trophy and wondered how our names would look on it.
Now that we were all settled down and changed from our uniform, we were all sitting down and waiting for Mr. Doughten's long speech. His speech kept going on and on, but this time it felt like it lasted more than usual. His last words were really inspiring to me and his words were " This maybe the best marching band I had ever had." I felt so proud of myself and the whole band for making our goal to our 9th consecutive win.
We stood behind our chairs for one last marching dismissal, a few of the seniors almost cried now knowing that this was their last time for marching. Lorena was infront ready for us to dismiss. "One, two!" she yelled. "Band!" we shouted back. And this was their last time to shout their hearts out for marching. "Ten hut, ten hut!"
She paused and looked at everyone around, her eyes were turning red with tears of joy. "Band dismissed!" We were finally able to leave and go home. But before anybody even got a chance to get out the door a few seniors stood under the banner for a few moments to remember their freshman years in marching. I saw a few tears, but they were good tears. Once they were done we all went out side looking for our rides to go back home and we started
to yell "Palo Duro Band is number 1!"
It kept going on and on until their wasn't anybody left to shout it out. We were all happy and nothing could change how we did. And we are proudly known as the Palo Duro Band- Pride of the Northside.