Semi-state competition. Where the bands fight to be in the top ten, to advance to the state finals.
The band members names lined the walk to school that rainy morning. Each important. Each having worked so hard. Hours and hours of practice. Music. Drill. In the heat. In the cold. Bluffton. Dekalb. Homestead. Sectionals. Regionals.
All leading to semi-state.
Ever arrived early to pick up someone from practice and watch? Ever sit in the band room as they practice? As they go over and over one section of music, one set of steps. As they listen to direction on how to play the music, how to perfect the drill.
Long hours of repeating the same thing. Long hours of struggling to get it just so.
A lot went into this journey. So many never see what goes on before they march so grandly onto the field. As I got off the bus at Franklin on Saturday, I was asked to help with the pit crew.
And got me one of these magical things. And was pointed to a speaker that needed to be pushed onto the field.
I so had that.
For I am no stranger to the pit crew. My first year as a band parent (two years ago), I hauled a palm tree on and off the field at every competition. Last year, I fought to stand screens in their places. So I stepped up and stood in line.
I followed the band, fighting wheels that didn’t want to go straight, on a journey through warm-ups. A tale of what happens before their bright white plumes could be seen from the stands, before they marched onto the field.
Those glorious pushers and pullers of props wait, we chat, we watch the bands…we stare off into space.
But the band? They stretch. They move. They march forwards and back. They march with shoulders turned.
This is stretching…it only looks like Dirk is going to throw his fellow marcher to the ground. No one was hurt during the warm-ups.
The color guard fought the wind to get their shoulders and arms ready to throw and catch and twirl.
At the end of their time, they split into sections. What they said, is a mystery, but there were determined faces, smiles, and much bonding. Get in the zone. Fire each other up!
Then onto music warm-up…
Lined up in an arc, they play their music.
The color guard practicing right along with them.
One last walk, to the field. Props ready to go.
The Spirit of Woodlan took the field. I pushed like a mad person, setting that speaker where it belonged.
I watched from the track.
A great performance! As we marched back to the truck, the weight of the day lifted, but only for a moment. The prickly nerves of waiting, of anticipation set in. Would we go to state?
Everyone reliving the emotions from last year, desperately clung to hope.
Lined up at the fence, we watched the last bands perform.
Waiting is hard.
But a little easier with friends and blankets.
The bands were announced. Participation trophies awarded. Then, in performance order…the top ten who will advance to state. Anyone else have their list of bands out? Anyone else counting how many made it…how many spots were left? Anyone else CHEWING THEIR FINGERNAILS OFF?
UNTIL IT HAPPENED…THE SPIRIT OF WOODLAN!!!!!
Cue screaming. Cue smiles. Cue happy tears. Cue A WHOLE LOT OF EXCITEMENT.
And blanket-wrapped hugs.
Because the season could have been done. That performance could have been their last. A police escort waited for the buses at 24. A line of honking cars joined a victory parade through town. So many videos have been posted to FB, so watch them…I might have cried. I was on a bus, and my video of how wonderfully loud it was is also on FB.
But the journey continues. Saturday at Lucas Oil stadium. One more week of locker decorations, of band room decorations. Of practices.
We qualified. That’s all we had to do.
Now we prepare to conquer the competition.