Band, Life

Savoring Every Moment …

Though I want to blog, I need to blog, I simply don’t have the energy, or the time to blog much these days.

Especially now.

Especially now since we’re in THE LAST SEASON OF MARCHING BAND. This is it. The last year. I’m on a mission to enjoy every last exciting, exhilarating, entertaining moment. And if that means I have to put my blog on hold for a bit, so be it.

I’m working full time. Kevin and I went out of town last weekend and will be going out of town every weekend for the next month. It’s exhausting, but OMG, SO MUCH FUN.

Pictures. Stories. Thoughts. I have them … I just don’t have time to post them or write them down.

But I will.

And I hope you’ll stick around and experience all of this with me.

But not now. Now I must go to work and frantically try to get to a place where I’m semi caught up so I’m not leaving a bunch of unfinished business for the other girls to deal with while I’m gone.

Just know … I’m here and I’m living the hell out of life right now.

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Saturday Schedule at Webb Stock

UPDATED: ON OUR WAY TO WEBB CITY!!

Kevin and I are going to eat at Schlotzskys for lunch and then head to Webb City. (Dude is not going with us – he would rather go to the larger competitions). I dropped Jazz off at school at 9:00 this morning. He didn’t want to drive because he’s a zombie after these things and he didn’t feel comfortable driving home in the dead of night half asleep.

I’ll second that.

We went to the band parent preview last night and WOW – these kids never cease to amaze me on how FAST they learn these songs. The music is fantastic, I wish the kids would move a bit more, it’s always more entertaining when the entire band have movements and fun things to do. The Color Guard girls are adorable though and put on a pretty good show. The one thing about early shows is that they evolve into more sophisticated shows later in the season as the band director adds more to it. The show today will be a competition-slash-critique camp sort of thing, so it’ll be interesting to hear what the judges say or how that affects the show later.

Anyway. The weather is GORGEOUS and absolutely perfect for a band competition. I’ll try and post pictures tomorrow …

Band-Webbstock

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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.

*snap*

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.

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Band Parent Preview – Practicing Hard

So, as is tradition with the boys’ high school, we went to the Ice Cream Social the other night to listen to the music the kids practiced during band camp week.

And as usual, I got goosebumps because the songs? Are a little Christmas-y, and uplifting, and happy and … I just really love our band program. The band director consistently picks music that leaves a smile on your face. I can NOT wait to see what sort of marching tricks he has up his sleeve for this year.

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

Seriously, I don’t know why I get so worked up when the kids play. I don’t know if it’s because I’m secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) envious of their high school experiences, or if I’m overwhelmed by their talent and ability to absorb new things like a sponge, or their youth … or all of the above …

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

… or if I simply enjoy watching these mini shows, listening to the music or marveling over the different interpretations these bands come up with.

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

All I know, is that I’m scary into these marching band months. I asked Jazz the other day if my, erhm, enthusiasm (that sounds so much better than “obsession” doesn’t it?) embarrassed him. He just shrugged, gave me a little smile and said, “no.” That made me feel good, but I never want to embarrass my kid in front of his peers.

It’s just not cool.

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

And I like to pretend I’m cool, at least.

The whole time we sat and watched these talented kids strut their stuff, I couldn’t help thinking, “THIS IS HIS LAST YEAR!” WAAAH! I’m honestly going to miss these competitions. And I’m already gearing my family up for next year. “You’ll go to the band competitions with me in St. Louis next year, right? RIGHT??”

Because I mentioned I’m sort of obsessed with these things, right?

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before.

At any rate, the kids are practicing their young tushes off. The theme for this year’s show (this LAST YEAR’S SHOW, for my kid at least), is “Out of the Box.” I won’t give it away, but there will be boxes and surprises involved. Actually, that’s all I know at this point as the only thing we were privy to at the parent preview was a little bit of marching and the music. The show evolves each time we watch it and I think that might be the biggest reason I love these marching band shows so much. You can watch the same show over and over again and you always see something different. Not only is the show evolving, but there’s so much going on at one time that it’s nearly impossible to take it all in after the first six times of watching it.

The kids are playing at the first home football game this coming Friday. I plan on recording it, even though I’m really not supposed to. But I think all bets should be off for senior parents because IT’S THE LAST YEAR OF MARCHING BAND!!

And I think it’ll be fun to compare their first show to their polished show when they reach the Bands of America in St. Louis in October. Which I’m really looking forward to, if you can’t hear the excited squeal in my voice as I type this. I even reserved our room at the Drury Inn next door to the Edward Dome back in January.

Because I’m a careful planner.

Okay fine, I’m obsessed.

For now. I’m not-so-patiently patiently waiting for the show to begin.

Like these guys.

Band 2012 - Parent Preview

Let the fun begin!!

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The Last Week of Band Camp Begins Today

Classic Expression

I know kid, I feel the same way. (HA! That is a classic Jazz expression, let me tell ya).

This is it. The last year of band starts today. Jazz will have a full week of grueling band camp, then we’ll get to hear the music next Monday at an ice cream social, then we’ll go to a few football games to watch them at half-time, and then it will be a race to learn, and perfect, as much as possible before the first competition, which I believe is September 22nd this year.

(The band is participating in Webb City’s Webbstock – which is more of a critiquing sort of workshop than it is a full-blown competition, at least, according to the band director. I’m sort of looking forward to it, just to hear what the judges have to say on how we can improve our show).

I’ve been dreading Fall 2012 since Jazz began his musical “career” in sixth grade. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of his music years and I’m going to SORELY miss them.

BIG TIME.

I have no idea if he’ll go to college and if he’ll want to participate in college marching band, he volleys back and forth on that, all I know is, I’m going to milk this last year like never before. I’m taking a ton of pictures and I’m going to video tape quite a few performances (even though our band director really discourages that – but it’s my baby’s senior year! I have to have something to pull out years from now and cry over!)

Jazz is not too terribly excited about band camp. It’s hard work. He comes home sore and exhausted every night – and it only gets progressively worse as the week wears on. He actually took this summer off (he had to take summer classes the past two summers), so he’s done nothing but sit around and laugh at YouTube videos.

I’m being totally serious.

So the mere fact that he’ll be out of the house and walking around will be hard enough. Ha!

He’ll drive himself to camp. He’s also supposed to pick up his class schedule and pay for his parking permit on Wednesday, too. Jazz will have some pretty challenging classes this year – he’s been used to sort of coasting along so far, so he’s going to be pretty busy just keeping up with his classes in addition to trying to stay on top of his band obligations.

I’d like to apologize up front for the sheer number of band posts you’re about to endure. Since this is his last year, I’d really like to document every bittersweet moment. Poor you. Ha!

So here we go. Let the 2012 band season begin!!!

Wish us luck!!

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The Beginning of the End of Our Band Experiences

So we went to Jazz’s band banquet a few weeks back …

We didn’t really know what to expect, since Jazz has refused to go to previous band banquets. He actually didn’t want to go to this one, but I remember how much he regretted not going to last year’s, so I sort of forced him to go this year.

And I’m glad we did. It was actually pretty fun. The food was pretty mediocre, but we weren’t really there for the food anyway. It was lasagna, salad, breadsticks and some sort of Alfredo dish (with green noodles. I’m just going to pretend they MEANT to serve us green noodles).

There were three sheet cakes … two of them were pretty plain but I thought this one was pretty cool …

Life's Directions Cake

“Life’s Directions” was from the 2011/2012 marching band show.

The night wore on and a lot of kids got awards. Jazz actually won something: “The Most Improved Soloist” for jazz band. And I have to admit, I agree with this award. It’s like it suddenly clicked this year and his solos in jazz band have been more cohesive. Jazz was pleasantly surprised with the certificate and was all smiles when he went up to accept the award.

Next year’s banquet will be hard – since he’ll be a senior he’ll be honored and recognized and I know I’ll be fighting back tears.

In fact, I have a feeling this last year of band is going to be very emotional … for me, at least. I LOVE the band program and I’ve had SO MUCH FUN watching the kids, and the show, grow with every performance. I know Jazz has had a blast and it’s one of the biggest reasons why school has been tolerable for him.

We went to the 2012/2013 band parent meeting the other night and found out what contests the band will be participating in this year.

We’re going to something called Webb Stock this year on September 22nd. This will be a new contest for our band and it’ll be interesting to see where we fit in WHEN we make finals (I’m that optimistic). We’ll be competing with a lot of local bands and it’ll be early enough in the season that it’ll be interesting to see how they can make the show better so that by the time we perform at Bands of America in October, we’ll have a near-perfect show. Apparently, that’s the main reason our band director wants to participate in Webb Stock this year – because of the constructive criticism. It’s really more about growth than the prize.

Though winning a top spot is a pretty sweet perk. πŸ˜€

We’ll be participating at the 2012 Broken Arrow Invitational as well as the Renegade Review again this year.

And then, of course, we’re playing at the mother of all competitions, Bands of America in St. Louis.

I’m insanely excited for this year – one, because it’s Jazz’s last year to play with the band, and two, the show sounds like it’s going to be a lot like the “No Strings Attached” show the kids put on a few years back. It was my absolute favorite and they did very well with it. It’s going to be a fun, light-hearted show that (hopefully) allows every single band member to do something fun and unusual.

We’ll see what the band director comes up with.

Kevin and I are talking about becoming involved with the band parent organization this year. I think it would be really fun to be on the field and helping the band during competitions. Since this is our last year participating (notice I didn’t just say “our last year” because I fully intend on talking Jazz into going to some competitions next year), I’d really like to savor every last delicious moment.

Here’s to a dynamic, fun, and SUCCESSFUL marching band season!!!! *chink*

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My Favorite 2012 Jazz Band Song

The Jazz Band teacher openly admitted this was the most challenging jazz song she’s ever taught one of her classes and as you can hear, the kids picked up on it pretty quick.

We have some pretty talented young musicians in our area. πŸ™‚

(And yes, Jazz has gotten bonked in the head a few times by the trombone player behind him. πŸ˜€ )

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Jazz Lessons This Summer?

Jazz performed his Spring Concert in both Advanced Band and Jazz Band these past two weeks.

Here’s one of the songs from the Advanced Band concert:

And here’s a video of Jazz’s solo in the Jazz Band concert:

I’m actually trying to talk Kevin into uploading the last song the Jazz Band played – it was fast paced and quite good. The kids all played really well. Hopefully, I can post that one soon.

Jazz LOVES jazz band. (Hence the reason I call him Jazz on this blog. Ha!) I mean, he LIVES for the spring when he can play his favorite type of music.

jazz4

What made this year’s jazz band concert cool was the fact that they had a professional jazz player accompany them. The gentleman’s name is Kim Park and he spent a lot of one-on-one time with the kids teaching them the tricks of solo playing.

After the concert, everyone had a chance to purchase Mr. Park’s CD, which we did, and have him autograph, which we did, and when we asked him to make it out to Jazz and told him Jazz was our son, he immediately brighten and complimented us on what a great player Jazz was. “He wasn’t afraid to play,” he said. In fact, Mr. Park liked Jazz so much, that he gave Jazz one of his business cards and encouraged him to contact him for lessons this summer.

(And no, he didn’t give one of his cards to every student).

Which we will likely do, actually. Jazz will not have a summer class this year (the first time in three years he won’t be taking a summer class), so these lessons will be something that Jazz can do to keep himself busy this summer since Kevin and I will be working and Dude will be taking a summer class and HOPEFULLY land a part-time job somewhere.

It really warms our hearts to see Jazz taking his playing so seriously.

jazz3

This is the first year he has really acted pretty serious with his playing. In the picture above, you can see how he’s preparing for the upcoming song. He’s actually tapping his knee in rhythm and mentally preparing himself to play it.

I told Jazz, after the concert, that we are going to have some serious discussions this summer about applying for music scholarships/grants and to make a game plan for whatever college he chooses to attend. He wants to go to Mizzou (Columbia, Missouri), but I’m not sure if we can make that happen since he hasn’t taken all of the courses they require for admission. He may have to attend a few semesters at OTC first to earn his credits before transferring, but that’s just one of many things we’ll have to look at this summer.

There are big changes for both my boys on the horizon, I can see those changes, it’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take us to reach that horizon now.