Champion of Champions – Our Last Band Competition for 2011

It started with a wrong turn.


We took a wrong turn on our way up to Columbia (Mizzou, to be more exact) Saturday to watch Jazz’s last band competition for the 2011 season.

(And I KNOW you’re all sighing with relief – enough with the band updates, already!)

It was just me and Kevin. The day was sunny, but cold. I prepared Jazz for this trip by going through a checklist of everything on Jazz’s out-of-town-for-a-band-competition checklist:

Band uniform
Band shoes
Black socks (You’d be surprised how many kids forget the dark socks).
Band t-shirt (he wears this. He also wears gym shorts under his uniform because he doesn’t want to have to change clothes and show his underwear to his bandmates – which … understandable).
Blanket (it gets cold on the bus – and by the way, the band director rents some of those nice tour buses for the kids – which AWESOME SAUCE! The kids love it and it’s SO much more comfortable than riding in school buses. Some schools opt to drag their gear around in fancy semi-trucks. We rent Penske trucks for our gear and spend the extra money on fancy buses for our kids).
Travel pillow (because Jazz is worn out after these things and generally falls asleep on the way home).
Water bottles (he drinks a lot of water)

I go through all of this with Jazz.


“Yes mom,” he snorts in exasperation. “I have everything. Sheesh.”

The kids were scheduled to leave the school at 10:00 a.m. We dropped Jazz off at the school at 9:10.

Guess who gets two text messages shortly before he leaves?

9:40 a.m. “I forgot my earbuds. Can you bring them to me?”

9:45 a.m. “Too late. We’re leaving.”

I guess the kid will start appreciating my checklists from now on, won’t he!

Kevin and I go to Starbucks and grab some Pumpkin Spice Lattes before we head out of town. (I’ll let that scrumptious goodness sink in a bit before I continue … )




We finally get on the road about 10:30. Even though we have a general idea how to get to Columbia, we don’t know exactly where we’re going so we rely on Kevin’s GPS program on his phone.

Which is a piece of CRAP, I’d just like to state for the record. Oh sure, it’s cool that it’s free and works MOST OF THE TIME, but when it doesn’t work? We end up on some curvy backroad in the middle of nowhere. Thank you very much.

Stupid me did not print out the directions. I looked them up, but I had no idea what roads had been listed so I’m pretty much useless. (As per usual). Our GPS was trying hard to get us to go a different direction, but we ignored it and went a route we KNEW would get us there … eventually.

For the record, because I’d like to document this for next year (IF the band goes back to Columbia next year – our band director likes to keep us on our toes):

How to get to Columbia Missouri, unless you’re like us and fight your GPS device tooth and nail.

Take 44 to Lebanon
Go through Lebanon, turn on 5.
Take 5 all the way to Camdenton.

Then we heard the dreaded “Rerouting” on Kevin’s phone. We missed our turn?!? How did this happen?!?!

We ended up on the wrong side of Lake of the Ozarks and spent a good twenty minutes (though Kevin will tell you it was a mere eight minutes, I don’t know WHERE he got eight – it was CLEARLY twenty minutes) out of our way before we finally start listening to the GPS device and find our way back to US 54. (And that was AFTER we ignored the annoyed female voice telling us to turn right when we had to CLEARLY turn left. I don’t where the GPS lady was trying to lead us, but it wasn’t Columbia!!)

Take US 54 all the way to US 63 North.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, will take you directly into Columbia and to Mizzou’s stadium.

Sounds simple, right? Well. We made it difficult.

Oh well. We made it to town about 2:00. Our kids weren’t scheduled to play until 4:00 – so it was all good.

The Mizzou stadium is HUGE. That is to say, the seating is huge. The actual field is pretty small. At least, according to Jazz. (It was so small that there wasn’t enough room for all of the bands to get onto the field after the competition was over).


We opted to sit up high so I could take some pictures of their formations.

(See the arrow? That’s how they started their program).

The kids were great. I love the the last performance of the year because by this time, the kids know the show backwards and have pretty much nailed it.


They all played great and our Color Guard girls danced their hearts out.


Our formations were solid and it was a good show.


I thought the kids looked more relaxed and seemed to be enjoying themselves.


Our kids made finals. In fact, they did SO well, that they won 1st in their class. And not only that, our Color Guard girls won third place and our drumline won third place as well.


Our kids were pretty psyched.

The band directors all drew numbers for finals placement and our kids were scheduled to play at 9:00 p.m. So, Kevin and I, using our “trusty” GPS device (*cough*), found a nearby Outback Steakhouse and had a really good dinner.

We made it back to the stadium at 7:30.

Our kids performed and did an even greater job during the finals performance. We felt pretty confident but were unsure of our exact placement given a few more bands that we felt were our biggest competitors.

We ended up placing third. Our kids scored 92.8 and they were ECSTATIC with that score – their best score of the season. Though there are a few of us that felt like they deserved second place (*ahem*), it’s all good. The kids had a good time, they put on a good show, we enjoyed ourselves and the season is over – life goes on.

(Do you see how they spelled “life?” [The name of their show was “Life’s Direction”]. Also, check out how the girls ended the show at the front holding their arrows. I love that).

So. The season is over. We have just one more marching band season to go and then… what? Jazz has already expressed an interest in trying out for the MSU marching band when he starts college. Though he would like to major music in college, let’s be real, shall we? What sort of job can he land majoring music? Other than being a band director? Which, I’m not saying is a BAD thing, per se, but it’s not a job he’s likely to get rich on.

And being rich may not be his goal. All I’m saying is: we’ll have to realistically weigh all of his career choices at that time and make sure that whatever he decides to do, he’s going into it with his eyes wide open – no rose-colored glasses in our house, yo.

What’s next? Well, hopefully, the Christmas parade. The kids are scheduled to march in the Christmas parade every year, but the weather has been so crappy these past two years that Jazz hasn’t marched in a parade yet. I’m hoping he gets to experience that, at least once, but he’s hoping it DOESN’T happen. He’s been talking to the seniors, who HAVE marched in a parade, and they all think it sucks. It’s grueling. They end up marching three miles and they’re all pretty much dead when it’s over.

But still … I hope he gets to experience it, at least once, because momma wants to stand on the sidelines and take pictures/videos of him as mementos.

Momma’s selfish like that. 😀

Thanks for reading about our band experiences! MAN, I’m gonna miss these busy Octobers when it’s all over.