We went to Jazz’s band competition this weekend.
It was in Broken Arrow Oklahoma and if you aren’t into the whole marching band thing, let me tell you, Broken Arrow Oklahoma is THE band that no one can beat. In fact, they win the Bands of America competition nearly every year because they’re THAT good.
They usually have a cutting edge program complete with unusual props, moves and fun (sometimes dark) music. Last year? Their girls dressed up as snakes and enticed the band the whole program. It was a bit, erhm, disturbing, but pretty awesome to watch.
They won, of course.
This year, as the final scores were being tallied up, they performed their program as an exhibition – their program is loosely based on the “Wizard of Oz” complete with bicycles and cutesy head bobs … yeah, it’s pretty awesome and though I’m glad our kids got to see their program, Jazz later told me, “Yeah, there’s no way we’re going to win now.”
However, I told them that though the Broken Arrow band is awesome, they’re all flash and little substance, sort of like a flash website, it’s cool for about two seconds and then it becomes annoying.
But enough about the competition, let’s sing the praises of Jazz’s band.
And sing them I will.
Because these kids played their hearts out. And their formations were tight, their music was spot on and I’ve never seen them perform as well. Their band director added some moves, so a lot of the show was new to us and WOW. It was spectacular.
(Side Note: And I’m not just saying that because of Jazz. There were two veteran OK band members sitting behind us and I amused myself by listening to their critiques. When our school finished their show, one girl sat back and said, “Welp, that’s it. They’re going to win.”)
The show is called “No Strings Attached” and it’s about some marionette dolls that escape their strings and cause mischief throughout the program. What’s really cool about this show? The band director got ALL the band members involved. (Hence the above picture where they’re all sitting down in various poses).
We arrived shortly after 1:00 p.m. And the day was gorgeous, but it was hot. And we ended up sitting directly in the sun for several hours (we all have lobster necks to prove it). So by the time they breaked, we were already all pretty worn out. And our kids hadn’t even played yet.
But it really was the perfect weather to have a band competition.
Twenty bands competed and we stuck around to find out if our kids made finals. We figured, if they didn’t make it, then we would drive the three hours home. If they made it, we’d end up getting home at two o’clock in the morning.
The time came to announce the twelve finalists. Our kids won the visual performance award, which was a good sign, but still, my heart raced and I felt weak. Would they make finals?
Our kids were the first group to be announced to the finals.
It looked like we were going to be driving home in the middle of the night.
We honestly didn’t mind. 😀
After we found out they made finals, the bands that didn’t make it took off and the place thinned out a bit. Me, Kevin and Dude drove around until we spotted a Sonic and ate dinner. When we got back to the school, we ran into Jazz as we were heading back to the stadium.
He acted like he was glad to see us and he was excited to be performing in finals. He was hanging out with his buds and they were blowing off nervous steam. He didn’t think they were good enough to win and though they WERE good, there was a lot of tough competition. I didn’t want to lie to the boy, but I didn’t want to get his hopes up too, so I told him, “You guys definitely have a good enough show to make the top 5. Just do your best and have fun.”
He seemed a bit cheered up by that.
The kids were set to perform at 9:00. By this time, the sun had gone down and there was a cool breeze. In fact, I had the foresight to pack some jeans for me (which I changed into before finals began) and to take jackets (which we all used), so we were actually pretty comfortable. (The stadium also had fancy theater seats as opposed to the normal stadium benches).
Nine o’clock came around and our kids marched out onto the field. Even though I was nervous for them, I wasn’t petrified for them like in other competitions. Whatever happened, happened. They made it this far and that alone was something to be proud of.
They performed. And they did a spectacular job.
When it was time for the winners to be announced, I was on the edge of my seat. Every time the announcer called off a name, I was like, “NOT (insert school name here).”
He kept reading. Ninth place ….. sixth place …. fourth place ….. my heart was in my mouth by this time and the girls behind me? Were totally cheering for our school.
When third place was announced and it was just our kids and one other group left, I nearly had a heart attack. Crossing my fingers, we waited to hear who won ….
(Jazz is the skinny saxophone dude in the middle).
Unfortunately, it wasn’t us, but we came in SECOND PLACE and we were all ecstatic with that honor. It was a TOUGH competition, not to mention a CLOSE competition. (The announcer read off the scores and the difference was literally a tenth of a difference).
We drove straight home, though we had to stop just inside the Missouri state line so Dude could go to the bathroom. We nearly stayed too long because we were in a race to get back into town before Jazz did (he insisted on riding the bus home with his band mates) and though we made it back, we only beat Jazz by twenty minutes.
(Side Note: I had given him a key to the house as a backup plan, just in case we didn’t make it back in time. At least he wouldn’t be stranded in the middle of the night).
It was a loooooong day, and we were all exhausted, but it was fun and I’m so glad we did it!!
The band goes to St. Louis this weekend for the Bands of America competition. They’re scheduled to play Friday night with more bands competing on Saturday. They won’t find out if they made finals until Saturday night, which means a looooong waiting period for our kids.
Me, Kevin and Dude are planning on going up Friday, watching their performance Friday night and then driving back on Saturday. We didn’t feel like sitting around all day, watching other bands perform before finding out if they made finals. Plus, there’s no guarantee they WILL make finals. (Not to mention, tickets are expensive!) There are 50 bands in the competition and only 12 make finals. Though our kids are good, well, the odds are against them.
But we’re thinking positively here. At least we will have gone, yelled our support and got to see them perform again.
Man, I love this time of year. 🙂