My weekend began with *our* Homecoming rally at school and then the parade/football game on Friday night then Lincoln University's Homecoming and "Battle of the Bands" was yesterday and what a day it was. After a long week at school and a late Friday night I dragged my rear out of bed at 330am Saturday morning; I had to be at school by 430. After getting everyone on the bus with all their stuff packed away and explaining the concept of a "seating chart" to those that this was their first trip with us, we pulled out on the long drive to Jeff City. Many of the kids had taken my suggestion earlier in the week to bring a pillow and blanket along for the ride and were grateful they did (poor Josh forgot his blanket in the band room; when we got back he grabbed it, wrapped it around his body and said "Oh how I missed you" *laugh*). because as the miles rolled by we all got some shut-eye.
We rolled into Jeff City right on time and started the unloading process. As the kids were getting off the bus yawning and stretching, Forrest said to me "That trip seemed like 10minutes to me. I slept the whole way" and I was oddly reminded that the surgery, for me, is going to be much like this bus ride. It too seemed like ten minutes for me as I slept the whole way, and the surgery will seem the same length of time as well. *Weird*
After the unfortunate problems of Mitchell forgetting his uniform (how in the WORLD you forget your entire freaking uniform when it's *right there* in the band room is beyond me), Forrest forgetting his band shoes (wanna march a two hour parade in slip-on shoes?) and blue&black sticks, and Marcel in a dirty uniform (seriously, how many times did we tell you all to get your uniform cleaned over the week?!?!) we started warming up. I always love that time with the kids; they circle around me and focus their attention inward. Their collective energy and discipline inspire me in that moment. I wish they could be like that more often.
We warmed up and ran through our cadences (to which we drew attention :) then lined up in block formation with the band to get ready for the parade. I checked every kid making sure they looked their best; chin straps, hats, buttons, shoes, jackets, and plumes. With everyone looking as good as they can we fell in step with the rest of the parade. I will give this day one great prop; there is a GREAT turn-out. I absolutely *love* this day for that. The kids get to show-off and do what they do, and they get richly rewarded for it. The major downside to this day is that it is just so LONG. I'm serious. The parade takes 2 hours. We started at 930 and were finished by 1130 and the first hour is a steady incline all the way. Thank goodness the last hour is downhill...my hips and feet are *still* throbbing.
After the parade we're served a standard college band box lunch; meat and cheese sandwich on white bread, bag of chips, an over or under-ripe apple, and a cookie. Then we settle in for the classic "Hurry up and wait"...*laugh* Some things never change.
After lunch we head over to the unmarked field for the "Battle of the Bands". It's quite the experience really. Most of the bands in attendance march more on the southern side of things. This involves dancing, chanting, singing, and quite honestly a lot of gyrating, on the field. Some of it is impressive to watch (I know I wouldn't want to do some of the things those kids do while wearing a band uniform), and some of it is...well, let's just say it's not something I'm used too. Unexpectedly we took first place in the marching competition. :) That was great for the kids and great for us. Validates our positions and proves that something good can come out of something controversial.
We rounded out the day by getting to play in the stands during the game and watch their band march halftime. It was a beautiful day and even though we were all exhausted by the end, we'll be there next year to do it all over again and hopefully take 1st in the battle AND the parade. ;)