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The Love of Band
We pulled into the parking lot of Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. “You guys have twenty minutes to be dressed and out of the bus for warm-ups,” Mr. Moore said.
Time to put on the dark green, snow-pant-like uniform pants, grab the ol’ jacket, and for me, grab gloves (with the finger tips cut off, of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play), gauntlets that are an ugly gold color, hat beneath the striking plume , and my clarinet. I walked out of the big, yellow by the bye smelly school bus to talk to my friends Nicole, Kelly, Moeko, and Ikumi. We all zipped each other up. The jackets have snaps and a zipper that we can’t reach, so someone else has to do it for you. I was really nervous, and I was praying I wouldn’t mess up the boat drill again. The twenty minutes was up. It was time to move to the practice field.
It felt like the practice field was a mile away even though it was only a block. I inferred that it was so far because the band had to walk in two straight lines with minimal conversation. Mr. Moore told us to break off into mini sectionals. Considering the clarinets were section leader-less for a day, I stepped in and helped as much as I could. I played movement three with Ikumi and helped Priyanka, a fellow clarinetist, with a few notes. Carlo, a drum major, directed us during the rallentando where we had to play metzo-forte. We worked together and figured out certain notes without the sheet music. The band assembled back together. We played through the show and sounded great! I was really proud of myself and my clarinet buddies. We are a huge family and work really hard to put on a good show.
Its 4:30 pm, our time to go on. I carried Mikey’s gigantic baritone saxophone onto the field while he helped carry the huge pirate ship prop onto the field. As we marched onto the turf, everyone started clapping. It was amazing. The stadium was big, and filled with many adoring fans. As soon as we started playing, the stadium was dead silent. The silence was almost spooky. “Look at Anne! One, two, one, two, three, four up,” as I thought to myself. “It was time to go to the boat drill, Nicole better be behind me. Turn, turn, turn, ouch…turned too much. Okay, and…stop!” The show was going so well, very few mess ups from what I could tell. I felt great, and I barely messed up my drill. I admit, I did mess up once or twice, but not as much as the first competition. That was an awesome show, even better than Friday night’s half-time performance (and we did really well then). Mr. Moore was really happy. “Great show guys! Awesome Job!” he yelled. We walked out of the stadium and everyone was high-fiving everyone.
Soon enough, it was time to change out of our uniforms. I got back onto the stinky, smelly bus full of sticky, smelly drummers. After I was done changing, I noticed it was dinner time. Everyone was sitting on the grass eating pizza and drinking pop. Everybody finished eating, and we went to the stadium to watch the last five bands, including Western Illinois University. They did an awesome job also. Their baton twirler lit her batons on fire, and that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on a marching band field.
The last part of the night was the awards ceremony. This was what it all came down to.
All of our after school and long three hour nighttime rehearsals, seven days of band camp, and
one hour sectionals help us get to where we are now. The judges called off the smaller awards,
and we didn’t win any of them. They called third. We weren’t awarded that. There was no
chance we were going to win anything now. Then Aly, a cymbal player, told us not to worry
because we were going to get second place. Boy, was she right! The announcer called Fremd
through the loud speakers and the entire band jumped up screaming. Our clapping and
yelling didn’t come from the excitement of winning an award, it came from our astonishment
that we actually won something. There were gobs of doubt that we wouldn’t win anything.
Winning second place was mind-blowing! It was the sweet smell of victory. We achieved it all
together, not one of us could’ve done it alone.