Battle of the Bands

November 30, 2009
Our story of the triumphant Apache band begins in a small city of in California where we, the proud band members of that city's high school, were diligently practicing for the upcoming competition in Florida. A few months ago, our band had received an invitation to compete against other talented bands from all over America for a chance to perform our field show during the pregame at the Gator Bowl football tournament. We were also offered the opportunity to play together with these competing bands during the half time show. Our band was honored and after many months of practice and much help from our marching instructors, we were more than eager to leave for Florida with our confident attitudes and prideful hearts. Winter break had come and while everybody was in deep slumber, we were getting ready for our flight to Florida at four AM.

Wide eyed and energetic, my band members and I were all enthusiastically chatting amongst ourselves on the bus ride to the airport. During the plane ride to Florida, everyone was too ecstatic to stay in their seats and could barely wait to get off. The pilot had finally given the long anticipated signal for landing and the plane dove down into the land of sunshine and natural oranges. The skies of Florida were mixed with the warm colors of the evening sun. Although the scenery was beautiful, the humid weather did not complement our blissful moods. The hot humid air, damp and suffocating, hung onto our skins creating a coat of sweat while it cooked us like chicken in an oven. After a long day of plane rides and hauling our luggage around, we were sent to our hotels to rest and prepare for the long day of practice the following morning.

Exhausted, inert, and stoic, we all pushed ourselves to practice with the other bands in preparation for the half time show. Arriving at our practice destination, we were greeted with awkward looks and strange stares from other bands because of the large number of Asians we had in our band which was not a common thing for most people. A feeling of animosity emanated from their stares and laughter. Although the attitudes of others were very degrading and rude, we ignored their foul behaviors and tried to give out an affable impression. Some of them responded with smiles and pleasant greetings, but some had just segregated from us and whispered amongst themselves. We all decided to disregard the uncomfortable vibes and focus all of our attention on the competition.

As the evening came and the time had come for the long awaited competition, we began to dress into our radiant red uniforms, broadening our shoulders with shiny gold buttons and straightening our stance with long striped pants. No longer did we feel puny and pathetic, instead, we were transformed into tough and powerful Apaches. Wearing fancy white gloves, towering red hats, and glossy white shoes we were ready to represent our school with pride and honor. Teeth rattling, knees shaking, we all lined up in the dark unfamiliar night and prepared to enter the football stadium. Our drum major blew his ear-piercing whistle and the rumbling drums signaled our march into the football field. Everyone marched silently into the field with confidence brimming out of their eyes, attempting to shoo away the apprehension. High up on the bleachers, the announcer introduced us and words of our accomplishments rung throughout the stadium as we proudly marched into the brightly lit field with our heads held up high. After a moment of loud claps and cheers, the crowd grew silent, anticipating for the start of our performance. The air was filled with cold tension and hesitant breathing, we all got into our positions and watched the conductor for our cue. He slowly lifted his arms and signaled us to begin with a wave of his hands. Off we went, our feet rolling to the beat and our mouths playing the melody of the music. The adrenaline rushed in our blood and the rhythm pulsated in our nerves. The warm Florida weather made our thick uniforms clump to our clammy skin. From far away, we looked like a horde of swarming red ants rapidly moving around the field forming shapes of all kinds. The music bounced off the bleachers and fluctuated into a mix of perplexing sounds. Every note played magnified into thunderous pounding and we all were appalled by the unusual effects. Many of us began to grow off tempo and our feet did not match the beat of the music. Happening all too fast, the whole band went into a whirlwind of confusion and digressed into an instantaneous burst of silence. For almost a second, everybody stopped playing and went into a moment of deafening stillness. Our feet continued to march but our fingers were immobile, immediately the brass instruments got back into the music and played their part. Relief filled our hearts as we all synced back together and finished the rest of our field show. Playing our last note, the crowd clapped with uncertainty as we stood at attention panting desperately for a whiff of air while hiding our shameful expressions under our tall hats.

That night, everybody felt nothing but disappointment and humiliation, we had all wanted to prove ourselves admirable but had ended up doing the exact opposite. Our conductor tried to console us with reassuring words but none of us took it to heart. The next day, we all attempted to replace our dissatisfaction with optimism as we got ready for the next segment of the competition, which was parade marching. The parade was also not too successful, the city streets were narrowed with the crowds of people who had been standing in the pestering heat for hours and it didn't help that we were the last band to perform. As we marched into the road, our band went from a large river of red uniforms to a squished stream of bundled up instruments. By the time we got to the judges, we were all reeking of sweat and worn out from the miles of marching. Although we were tired, we still had the desire for victory. We mustered up all the will power to play the march one last time. Our band marched with dignity and poise, showing the judges we deserved to win.

The night had come for the long awaited awards ceremony. Dressed in gleaming party dresses and crisp clean suits, everybody had gathered to the event to find out if they were going to leave in victory or disappointment. The enticing trophies sat on the table flaunting it's shinning glory as the audience stared at them with desire. Finally, the hosts of the competition stepped onto the stage to reveal the winners. With wide eyes and tentative ears, the crowd was hushed into an anticipating silence. Our band looked down with bleak expressions, preparing ourselves for the impending disappointment. Muscles tensing, eyes wandering, we stiffly sat in nervous positions as we waited for him to announce the winners. The presenter announced the first place winner with suspense, letting the words roll off his tongue and stopping right before the name of the winner. With a booming voice and excited expression, he loudly shouted our school's name. Our band immediately popped up from our seats and bounced in victory. We shouted, cheered, and clapped as loud as we could, bursting into excitement. All the other bands grieved in disappointment but they had newfound respect for us and approached us with words of congrats. Our drum major accepted the trophies in victory and raised it up arousing screams of triumph. That night, our band felt the true sensation of teamwork and perseverance. We learned to never give up and to always have hope. We were all proud to represent our school and bring back prized glory and life long memories.





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