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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!