Our Renegade Review and Broken Arrow Invitational Experiences for 2011

So. Tulsa and me? We’re like thisclose.

I’ve driven down there and back, in the same day, TWICE now. Once last weekend and once yesterday. I should earn some kind of award for putting the most miles on my car in a month.

Why? You ask?

I’m glad you asked. (Because if you hadn’t asked, then we’d be sitting here now, avoiding each other’s eyes while enduring an awkward silence; and I KNOW you don’t want that to happen).

It’s marching band season! Where have you been?!?


(Before I forget – see those diamonds on the kids’ uniforms? They Velcro on so they can be removed whenever they [meaning the parents – not the kids] get them dry cleaned. Guess who has already lost one. Yep).

The name of our show this year is: “Life’s Directions” and in essence, it’s meant to make people think about where they’ve been, what they’re doing now and to decide carefully on their future.


The show is not as flashy as last year’s, but the music is better, in my opinion. It’s more recognizable and whenever they start to play (their first song is from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”), you can hear the audible gasp of affection from the audience.


My in-laws went with us both last weekend and this weekend. They are getting up there in age and it’s really not very safe for them to drive anywhere by themselves anymore. (Though they would vehemently deny that). They came over about 9:00, parked their car in our garage and away we went.

The drive down to Tulsa is actually pretty nice. It’s flat enough that I can put the car into cruise control and pretty much forget about driving.

Pretty much.

My in-laws brought crackers, cheese and even turkey to make sandwiches with (my FIL is a diabetic and has to restrict his diet), so we had plenty to eat on the trips. When we arrived in Tulsa last weekend and Broken Arrow this past weekend, we grabbed lunch before heading out to the stadiums.


If you’ve never experienced Oklahoma marching bands – it’s a world of its own. We are small potatoes compared to the shows the Oklahoma groups put on. In fact, we’re the only Springfield band to even attempt to compete with them. The competition is FIERCE and I’m being honest when I say, it’s quite an honor just to be in the finals with these same groups.

They’re THAT good.

I’m proud to say, we made finals both last week and this week.


Though our music is good and our kids do a good job performing it, I’m afraid our show is just not up to par with our competition this year. These other schools go all out with their props and really get their band members involved in the process. Though there’s a time period in our show when the kids lay their instruments down and do a little dance number …


… it’s not enough, in my opinion. The bands that beat us really run their band members to death during the entire show.

And it’s impressive, to say the least.

Our kids stick to more traditional marching formations, but there are a few surprises. Our Color Guard girls are quite good and have already won one award this year.

Jazz’s quartet has been doing a really great job, though there may have been a squawk in the finals performance this past weekend.


I know the kids really hit it hard when they’re in band class to try and perfect their sound.

The weather really cooperated with us this weekend, though I really thought we might get some rain at Broken Arrow. There was a wicked line of storms in the western part of Oklahoma when we left home yesterday morning. But I’m relieved to report that the rain held off and the day ended up being really nice, if not a little windy.


Our kids came in 7th place at Renegade Review (last weekend) and 5th place at Broken Arrow (yesterday), though they narrowly missed placing fourth by .7 of a point. Their score was 73.1 and the fourth place team ended up with 73.8.


There was a band that didn’t make it to the finals and though we were all shocked, I was disappointed with their fans’ reactions. I thought they were quite rude when the final bands were announced. They didn’t clap, (as in, not even being polite about it), and made disparaging comments as they piled out of the stadium. Though I understand their disappointment, it was quite immature and quite disturbing, in my opinion. ALL of these kids work their butts off to be the best they can possibly be and they deserve our respect and admiration – no matter what score they end up with.

Sometimes being too confident is counter-productive.

I knew our kids’ performance would not land them in the top three (there were just too many bands with better programs), but I was pleasantly surprised that they made 5th place and we couldn’t be MORE proud of them. I know their band director puts them in these Oklahoma shows to challenge them to be better players and it’s honestly paid off in spades. Any score they get they fight tooth and nail for – it’s NEVER easy for our kids – ever. They consistently compete in REALLY HARD competitions and as a result, our band program is one of the best in the area.


The band that won the Broken Arrow Invitational TOTALLY deserved it – they were PHENOMENAL. Seriously. Their music was incredible and they played it flawlessly. Not to mention, their movements were entertaining and impressive and I really enjoyed the premise behind the show. (Statues that come alive and savor the moment). There were some fans from the second-place band behind me and when I stood up and clapped for the winner, they got quite cranky with my enthusiasm.

I don’t get “grown ups” sometimes. Does it really matter? Again. These kids are incredibly talented and pour their hearts and souls into their programs – I admire them all and respect the hell out of them. Shouldn’t we set an example and practice good sportsmanship?

Honestly. The attitudes of some of these parents just astounds me.


I really love the last formation the kids do at the last of our show – it’s an arrow. I don’t know if people really catch that since it’s hard to see unless you’re sitting up high.


Kevin also took this picture of a judge, standing right in front of Jazz, and well, judging his playing abilities. I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been for Jazz.


But here’s the funny part – when I showed Jazz this picture and asked him if he remembered the judge watching him, he said no. He said he was too busy worrying that his hat was going to come off (because it was super windy at Broken Arrow yesterday, though the winds died down for the finals performance). HA!

One of the perks of participating in the Broken Arrow Invitational is that we get to preview the Broken Arrow band’s performance as we’re waiting for the judges to tally their scores.

I love the Broken Arrow band – they are truly amazing. Those kids have perfected the art of performing. Their music is spectacular, their formations are tight, their girls are sexy and in sync … but if there’s one thing that drives me a little nuts about BA is that it takes them forever to take the field and then exit the field. This year, their girls take the field two-by-twos – and there’s about 40 girls in their Color Guard. It takes FOREVER for them all to get on the field. They also put way too much sexuality into their shows. This year, there’s a lot of full body touching and at one point, the boys actually cradle the girls. Now, I’m not a prude and sexy is hot, but when you’re talking about 16/17 year old kids, it gets a little uncomfortable. Still though, the show was pretty amazing and I’m sure they’ll go on to win Bands of America – they win it nearly every year.

At any rate, our kids will be competing at Bands of America next weekend. This is their overnight trip of the season and our kids are really looking forward to rooming with their buddies and playing XBox. (Yes, they allow it. I was surprised too, quite frankly. When do they sleep?!?) I believe they play at noon on Saturday (if the schedule I saw is accurate), so we’ll also spend the night and spend the day at the stadium to see how they do and who goes to finals. Though I would like to say that our kids will makes finals, the odds are against them. There will be close to 50 bands competing this year and well – I’m being realistic. They will likely not make finals and we’ll be heading home about dinner time next Saturday night.

Which is fine. It’s all about the experience, right?

It’s really hard not to take this whole marching band competition too seriously. It’s SO FUN to watch these talented kids strut their stuff that I sometimes have to stop, back up, take a breath and remember, they’re just kids. They’re kids having fun, making memories and doing what they love to do.

I envy them the experiences.

So. I’ll be writing more about their time in St. Louis next week. Cross your fingers for us!