Om Namah Shivaya


Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Goodbye to "The Five"

I can't believe it.  Two more weeks and my babies graduate and go out into the real world forever.  It's so hard to comprehend it's crazy.  These boys have been a source of strength, inspiration, and hope of the future for me these past four years.  

Cougar Pride Drum Line '08-'09

I first "got them" when they were Freshmen.  They were so tiny!  Even my "Big Man" had yet to really reach his big man potential yet *laugh*.  I remember being told by my junior and seniors, at the time, that this incoming group was "tight", "fire", "really good", etc...and all I could think was "Mmmm-hmmmm...we'll see".

A few memories from that first year: Sean and his insatiable need to be the comedian.  Forrest and his little twisties.  Jeff and his inability to find his LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!  Kris who was *so* quiet and Tevin who literally stepped into the role of bottom bass drum about three weeks after we had already begun.  This kid showed up with Jeff to rehearsal, I said "Here's your stuff, here's your drum, hold on tight and let's go!"  He picked it up like a champ especially since he was an Orchestra convert.

Cougar Pride Drum Line '09-'10

Their Sophomore year brought our first competition ever.  I had tried for about two or three years prior to get us ready for the Carrollton Drum Line competition but to no avail.  I had as of yet hit my stride as an instructor, and had yet to have a group of kids who ALL wanted to be involved in the extra work that's required to do what we do.  I finally struck gold with the group pictured above.  I was *SO* nervous that day.  Had we prepared "Cheetah" enough, was the crowd going to like it, were the*judges* going to like it..would we place within the top three?!?!  We achieved all that and more.  They made me so proud, they played their hearts out, and we brought home the 2nd place trophy.  We were estactic.   That spring, we finished out the year with a I at Districts with our "A Few Good Men" ensemble that we then took to State and brought home a I as well. :)

Golden Eagle Drum Line '10-'11
 Junior year.  What a year.  Not only were we no longer the Cougar Pride Drum Line due to the consolidation, we were now the Golden Eagle Drum Line, but my diagnosis with breast cancer had come down a few months prior and the day before this picture (@Race for the Cure, KC) was taken I had undergone another round of chemo with one or two more yet to go.  I'll never forget the day I told my boys I had breast cancer.  Oy.  Talk about punching someone in the gut.  I invite you to read the original post I wrote about it here  They were so strong.  They, including my new kids, wrapped me in strength, support, and love.  Visibly shown by my "Big Man" holding me in his arms.  They stepped up to the plate when it was needed, took care of me, and made sure we defended our trophy at Carrollton and Raytown with the performance of "Grizzly" with ease.  Then that spring when I was all better and had returned to some semblance of normalcy, we took Districts by storm with a I on "Synergy", and a II on "Centrifugal""Synergy" then went onto State, and earned a I.  My favorite memory from that year was at the Percussion Banquet when "The Five", my five, presented me with this...the "Survivor Award".  Best damn gift, and up to that point the *only* gift I've ever received from my students.  

Me and "The Five" w/my Survivor Award

Golden Eagle Drum Line '11-'12
Their Senior year had arrived.  Man how time flies!  We were a force to be reckoned with this year.  I wanted to make sure we topped ourselves in every way possible and did we ever.  I put together a pit, which for those of you that don't know that means my Drum Line had a front ensemble of mallet instruments, timpani, and "toys", for the first time ever.  The two years prior our show was just the Drum Line (around 11-12 kids) and was *maybe* a minute and thirty seconds in length.  This year, however, we were 17 strong and I wound up having to CUT a piece from our show because it was over the 5minute time limit! *wide eyed stare*.  We have never worked so hard.  I invite you to watch their video from the Carrollton competition here Feel free to peruse their (archived) website/ (new) facebook page as well.  Many years of photos and videos documenting their hardwork can be found on both pages.  We literally worked ourselves into the ground and were rewarded with our second place trophy again, but *this* year we only missed first by three points, which was amazing in and of itself. 

State, 2012
 Just a few days ago we traveled to The University of Missouri where they *all* worked their magic and brought home a I Superior rating for their performance of "Bound for Marakesh"

"Bound for Marakesh" ensemble

 These boys have set the standard for everyone who will come behind and have plans to train the incoming flock seeing as it's a rebuilding year for me.  I am going to miss these boys like no other.  Yet again, I say that about my Seniors every year *laugh*.  They are leaving a huge void to be filled, but I know that through time others will step up to the plate and finish what they have started.

So to "MY Five" ;) I wish you well as you embark on this next chapter of your life.  May you find whatever it is you're looking for and grow into yourselves and the fine men you are becoming more and more with each passing day.  You have truly made these past four years a joyous wonder and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me, for us, and for the Line.  Your memory will live on forever. 

Much love, Mama Stout

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