Band

Earning Ones All Around

Congratulations to the Kickapoo Jazz Band on an outstanding performance at the Parkview Jazz Festival!! The group earned 1 ratings across the board & received numerous compliments from the judges!

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So. I left work early Friday to attend Jazz’s Jazz festival at a local high school.

First of all, may I just say, I need to do that more often!! It felt WONDERFUL to leave work three hours early. I seriously need to do that more often – it does wonder for my morale.

Kevin met me at work and we drove over to the high school together. The whole performance only lasted about fifteen minutes, but we stayed to hear the judges critique the kids, which was interesting.

The judge hammered the group before Jazz’s group so we were pleasantly surprised when the judge that nearly embarrassed the last group merely clapped and said, “good job guys.” I don’t think the kids can truly appreciate how awesome that compliment was, especially since they didn’t see him with the kids before them.

The other two judges mostly picked on the drummer and the bass player – said they were too loud. And listening to the recordings, I can see why they thought that.

The videos below are actually in reverse order – the first one was played third, the second one second and the last one first. I put them in the order that I thought were the best – the last being the best, in my opinion.

I felt so sorry for their teacher, who you can see is VERY pregnant. In fact, I’m certain that’s why the kids aren’t traveling to their normal competitions this year because the teacher likely doesn’t want to be far from home when she has the baby.

Which, judging by these videos, should be any time! (Poor woman. In fact, after they performed, one of the judges tried to make her sit down. LOL).

You can’t hear the girl singing very well, but at first, I was like, “What the …??” but somehow, they made it work. Her voice really blends well with the song and I thought it was a neat touch.

I was a little annoyed that the teacher stood in front of Jazz as he played his solo, and the video really doesn’t do him justice as he played really well, but that’s okay – I’m just happy he has the confidence TO stand up and be the center of attention for a short time. That takes guts.

I’m not sure I’ll have very many more jazz band videos. Like I said, they really don’t have a lot planned this season. I think they’re planning on playing at our local Art Walk, so we might show up and take some pictures/videos that day.

I’m really disappointed considering this is Jazz’s favorite part of band – playing in the Jazz band. And since this is his senior year, I was really hoping for a fun, exciting season, but that’s life, I guess.

I’m just grateful for band as that has made his middle school / high school years fun and tolerable.

(And my apologizes over the video quality – I took it with my phone).

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More Christmas Concert Music …

And while we’re in the Christmas music mode … here is more of Jazz’s Christmas, oops WINTER, *rolls eyes* concert.

I took these videos with my phone, so the quality is not that great, but the sound is decent and that’s all that matters. I focus on the right side of the group because Jazz is the saxophonist in the white shirt on the very end.

Also. I thought the Drumline’s portion of the concert was pretty cool – so I took a video of them, too.

IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE!! Time to frantically catch up on last minute things …

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Christmas Parade

We went to our last Christmas parade last weekend … (well, it’s not the last, but the last one that Jazz will march in and they’re so hokey [no offense Springfield], that I highly doubt we go back to see another one just for the sake of seeing another one).

We dropped Jazz off in the parking lot and waited around for them to “step off.” We happened to be parked in the lane that they lined up in, so we got a pretty good view of them as they marched past.

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The band director put the seniors on the outside, so Jazz walked right past us. He smiled as he saw us. And one of his friends, a few rows back, saw us too.

“Hey Jazz,” he yelled, ” I see your parents.”

We laughed.

After the kids took off on their route, we drove to the end of the route, parked and walked back to meet Kevin’s parents and sister.

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It was cloudy and cold that day, but nothing like I’m-so-cold-my-fingers-are-going-fall-off miserable, so we managed.

We waited for about twenty minutes before the first cop car rolled around the corner.

And then members of the military.

And then a 4×4 truck followed by girl scouts.

Then a high school band.

And a rather pathetic-looking float.

Our parades are sort of hokey, if you want the truth.

Our kids were number 19 in the line up and they finally rounded the corner:

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My heart soared. I don’t know these kids, but I’m proud of them.

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We maneuvered it so that we would be on the side of the street that Jazz would be on and we weren’t disappointed, he walked right past us.

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And a few rows back, his friend also saw us.

“Hey Jazz,” he called out, “I see your parents again.

We all laughed.

I’m so glad that we made an effort to be at his band functions over the years. He’ll remember us supporting him and though he occasionally acts like he doesn’t care if we show up, I know, by the smile he flashed us in the above picture, that he enjoys having us cheer him on.

For some reason, I totally blanked out and forgot that my phone has a video function and didn’t take any video of the kids. But the band played the song they played when they marched in the parade at the Christmas concert and that I DID record.

Have a great day! Only six days left until Christmas!

TICK TOCK.

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Everybody Loves Music

Doesn’t this look like fun??

We’re totally going next year. Jazz’s (future) Alma Mater won’t be participating, but I think it will be fun to go, at least once. This sort of competition is where the best of the best compete – every single show promises to be spectacular.

And it happens to fall on my birthday next year.

Which gives me an excuse to talk Kevin into going with me.

Sweet! 😀

ADDED: So get this, I started researching hotels for the Grand Nationals in Indiana next year and ALL OF THE HOTELS IN THE AREA are completely booked.

WHAT THE …!!

I haven’t given up yet, but it looks like we might be watching the webcast instead of actually being there. Boo. Hiss.

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Saturday Schedule at Broken Arrow

Here we go … the second, out of four, competitions!!

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It’s cloudy, cold and it looks like the kids may get rained on at times. I’m praying, PRAYING, really hard that the rain bypasses us. It rained yesterday and Jazz said that the band director made them practice anyway, probably to prepare them for today, I imagine.

I’m ready, (well not technically, I still haven’t taken a shower yet – I will when I get back from dropping Jazz off at school). I packed two travel packages of tissues (my nose runs like a faucet) and a travel packet of hand wipes (because WOW, the germs at these things). We’ll also take a blanket and a cooler of beverages as well as bundle up and prepare to sit in 30+ degrees of coldness WHEN (I’m optimistic) the kids make finals tonight.

Kevin and I will be leaving around 9ish this morning and will likely grab a Starbucks for the road.

I really look forward to this competition. I have the utmost respect for the Oklahoma bands and I’m really looking forward to seeing their shows this year. Not to mention, Broken Arrow will showcase their show right before finals start tonight, and that’s ALWAYS a treat to watch.

We’ll be home about 2:30 in the morning. I can already feel a yawn coming on just typing that.

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Webbstock, Not Woodstock

I pray every day. My prayers are pretty redundant – I pray for my family, for our jobs, for our safety, for our country (GO ROMNEY!) and I pray for the weather … especially when marching band season rolls around. I pray REALLY hard when it’s marching band season.

We’ve been lucky, so far. (Or not luck, but blessed – God is awesome). We’ve never had bad weather on band competition days. We’ve had overcast, cold days, but it’s never rained hard enough to cancel or postpone, the competition.

WebbStock was no exception. In fact, God not only answered my prayers that day, He surpassed them. The day was gorgeous. G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.

I drove Jazz to school. He’s such a zombie when he gets back from competitions that I didn’t quite trust him to drive home at midnight. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact, I think he was a little relieved, actually. I dropped him off at the school at 9:00 – the band director wanted the kids to run through the program once or twice before they took off. They also planned on having Subway sandwiches so they wouldn’t have to worry about grabbing something to eat prior to competition.

I went home and finished getting ready. Kevin and I, after nearly four years of doing this, are finally getting smart about these trips. We packed a small cooler with water along with one Monster drink and one Starbucks Frappicino. We pack these caffeinated beverages because we spend precious time after competitions are over trying to locate some place to buy coffee for the long-dead-of-night trip home. I say “precious time” because we’re often trying to beat the kids back so Jazz doesn’t have to wait on us. Yes. He could drive home, but it has sort of become a tradition for us to drive him home and to talk about the highlights (or low lights) of the show.

We got on the road around 11ish. We arrived at the stadium around 12:30 and we settled in to watch the other bands perform before our kids went on around 3ish.

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Our biggest competitors, Willard and Blue Springs, were really good. But we knew the band to beat would be Blue Springs. And they didn’t disappoint – their horn section was top notch and they won the best horn section, which I knew they would. We placed second in preliminaries and our drum majors as well as our solo flutist won best overall.

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I thought the kids played really well during prelims – they SMOKED the music during finals. They sounded phenomenal – and it helps that I also really enjoy the type of music the band director has selected this year. I think it’s a smart combination of in-your-face sort of make-your-heart-beat music and a slower, beautiful combination following. The band director always picks beautiful music, but some years our music is too slow in too many places and often times, the audience loses track of whether our kids are even playing at all.

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Not so this year. The third song is rather slow, but not so soft that you can’t hear what’s going on. I’m really pleased with the music selection this year. I do wish we had more movement though. The title of our show is “Out of the Box” and the color-guard girls push brightly colored presents around the field. Which is fine and makes the show colorful, but it’s a bit disappointing because you sort of expect something to pop out of the box at the end of the show and nothing happens. The kids also end the show with their backs to the audience.

???????

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I’m not crazy about that part, either. It appears like they are preparing for another movement or song, so the audience is not sure whether the show is over or not.

We made finals and we ended up placing third. I sort of think we were robbed and deserved second, however, after comparing the scores, I can see why the second place team, Nixa, won over us. Their show was visually fun to watch. Though our music was better and way more complicated, their presentation really did blow us out of the water. We scored higher in music composition and execution, but our low score came from the visual side of the show and I can’t say I’m surprised – at all.

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We arrived home around midnight and actually had to wait about 30 minutes for the kids to arrive. Kevin and I fell asleep in the car waiting for them.
Six school buses pulled into the lot at 12:30. If I hadn’t seen the kids at competition I would have been surprised. Actually, I was a little surprised anyway. The band usually takes the nice tour buses to competition but I guess the band director wanted to save some money on a competition that was only a little over an hour away – as opposed to the other competitions that are over three hours away.

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Jazz hated it. He said the buses were uncomfortable and had little leg room, but he’s used to taking the big, nice buses and is spoiled.
The kids have been practicing hard these past few weeks. They didn’t have a competition last weekend, so the band director has taken this time pocket to fine-tune the show. Jazz said that he has added some movements to the last song and I hope it includes NOT ending the show with their backs to the audience. Our band director has his finger on what works musically, and he’s very talented when it comes to executing the musical part of the band, but he seems to have trouble with the visual part of the show. He doesn’t have the kids moving nearly as much as the other bands and I honestly think we would do better in finals if he would focus on that aspect a little more.

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At any rate, we did well for our first competition – and especially well considering the kids had learned the show just four short weeks prior to the first competition.

We have another competition coming up this weekend at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This is a big one. The Oklahoma bands are FIERCE and very, very hard to compete against. They really raise the bar and I honestly think that’s one reason why our kids do so well … the band director is constantly challenging them to be better and better.

My predictions? Top five. Hopefully, top three. We’ll be competing against the 1st and 2nd place bands in WebbStock again, so it’ll be interesting to see how we score against them.

Wish us luck!