Playing in Black

IMG_1326 He looks silly, right?

This is our youngest son, Jazz. He’s in uniform … sort of. Actually. His hat is the only part of his uniform; he’s dressed all in black (sort of) for black out night for band practice.

Once a year, the band director calls “black-out night” and the kids dress all in black and wear their hats to practice. The kids really enjoy it and it breaks the monotony.

Practice is going well, but Jazz is pretty sick of it already. Marching band season may be MY favorite season, but it’s not necessarily HIS favorite season. He actually enjoys Jazz band in the spring more, hence the reason I’ve dubbed him “Jazz” on my blog, but the Fall? Belongs to mama.


The kids were supposed to play at the first football game a few weeks back, but it poured – and I mean POURED – rain and they didn’t have a chance to march.

They marched at last Friday’s football game and though Kevin and I went, we really didn’t see them very well. The school over planned too many events and the place was PACKED. We ended up finding a parking spot at the front of the school and when we walked around to the back and toward the football stadium, the line was backed up well into the parking lot.

We knew that if we made it in, there was no way we would find a place to sit and we really didn’t want to stand for two solid hours until half time, so we stayed in the car and listened to the radio until half time. We stood outside the gate to the stadium at half time and we peeked around various bodies and tried to listen to the show over the low roar of the crowd.

I’m glad we hadn’t paid to get in because it really was a damp mess. (It misted nearly all night so everyone was pretty soaked by half time). And we didn’t see, or hear, squat. The band director also let the kids leave after the half-time show, so it would have been a waste of money anyway.

Since we knew we were going to go to the game, we took one car. We waited around for Jazz to put his stuff in the band room and once he found us, the first thing he said was, “I’m so pissed.”

I just figured it was due to his performance. He’s so hard on himself when it comes to his playing.

“Did you hit a wrong note?” I asked.

“No. I didn’t know how to exit the field, we’ve only been shown how to do it once or twice, and we sort of scrambled at the end because no one really knew what they were doing. I just sort of yelled, ‘LEFT’ and thank God, people listened to me and we all turned left. It was disaster. And Mr. P. was really annoyed and yelled at me.”

Jazz has never liked getting yelled at. It really bothers him when people are upset with him. Which has been a really good thing for me and Kevin because it has never taken much to make Jazz obey us – even the threat of yelling at him has kept him in line. And he really admires Mr. P – A LOT. And it really upsets him when Mr. P is upset with him.

I didn’t really say much because he was upset and he really didn’t want to hear anything “helpful” from me, so I kept my mouth shut. But I used that experience as a “teaching” moment the next day and we talked about the importance of accepting responsibility for goof-ups and to ask questions if we aren’t sure of something. Especially when you’re in a leadership-type role (which he is this year – he’s leader of the saxophone section, which is 14 kids, thank you very much).

Anyway. The practice-slash-performance didn’t go well and I’m sure the kids have been paying for it the past few days and have been working hard to “correct” their mistakes ever since.

They’ll have practice tonight and a dress rehearsal practice Friday night. I plan on going to the Friday night practice. I’d like to take some pictures of the kids in their uniforms and since the stadium will be empty, except for the hard-core parents like me, I’m looking forward to actually hearing them play this time.

Their first competition is this coming Saturday in Webb City. I use the term “competition” loosely because it’s more of a learning clinic than a competition and the band director is really more interested in hearing the critique of their performance than in how well they perform, though it will be set up like the traditional performance competition with the top 12 bands going on to the finals.

Jazz is not looking forward to it. He doesn’t feel like they’re ready, but then again, he says that every year. I just hope the weather is nice because it’s rained the past two weekends.

Even though I’m going to miss these band competitions something fierce, there’s a small part of me that will be relieved. It’s STRESSFUL watching them and hoping they don’t screw up bad enough to not make finals.

I’m usually tense and on edge the whole time we’re at a competition.

It’s fun, and yet, it’s not.