Unforgettable Musical Performance Experience Of Mine
The sound of music fills the stadium as I stand towards the back in my old, baggy uniform. I can feel the sweat dripping down my forehead as I nervously try to keep in step with the person in front of me. The band before us sounds amazing, not one not is incorrect and they are all marching in time. As time passes, my stomach starts to twist and turn while my hands get clammy. I need to sit down bad, but I can’t afford to get yelled at before our assessment. The music starts to intensify as they come to the closer of the show and my section and I start to feel the intimidation.
Petersburg High school band blasts their last note and then it was completely silent. The crowd loudly applauds them. The band walks by like silent, synchronized ghosts. They were led by a single snare drum tapping lightly to keep everyone’s feet in time. Some of our freshmen marchers compliment them but if they even opened their mouths, the band director would confiscate their 3rd quarter privileges.
Our drum major calls us to attention, which means its time to perform. As David starts to tap the snare, our band director tells us to bow our heads for a prayer. After the prayer, we snap back in focus and start to march out onto the field. “Mark time Mark”, yelled the drum major. It’s ShowTime. Drumline led the band out, while the color guard rushes to the front of the field with the pit crew to set up everything they need. I lead my section directly down the 50-yard mark and turn in to tune. After 30 seconds of tuning, the mysterious man says, “Drum major, is your band ready?” Bella salutes to the voice and turns back to the field. Then we all hear, “Now under the direction of Emily Oyan, here are the Lloyd C. Bird Marching Skyhawk’s”.
I bend my neck forward and immediately feel overwhelmed. The stadium is filled to the max and all eyes are on us. We are the first 5A band to perform in today’s competition. While I am stuck thinking about everything bad that could possibly happen, the drum major raises her hands. We all move to attention. She thrusts her hands up and down and I start to count, snapping my mouthpiece in place. She lifts her hands high to signal us to take a deep breath in. We begin the show. My eyes are looking moving everywhere, making sure I am hitting every set that I can remember. I’m actually marching my last assessment. But before I know it, we are at the end of our show. We played through all three pieces, solos and all. As we stand in the middle of the stadium, frozen in time, until the massive applause shocks us. We, the seniors, just performed at our last marching assessment as high schoolers.
The drum major gives us the signal to exit the field, all of us pumped, yet anxious. Once we go back to the holding area, we form into a “unit circle” so our band director can talk to us. She literally screams, which is so odd because she normally doesn’t show emotion. She tells us how good we sounded and that this was the best performance we’ve had all year. After that long, anticipated talk, she walks us back to the bus to get our things. On the way to the bus, she pulled seniors aside to talk to us. She tells us about all the work that we have put into the band these past four years. She also says, “No matter what the judges give you guys, you all definitely got a superior from me and everyone in those stands”. She gave us all a hug and once the waterworks stopped, we met back up with the rest of the band. I start to talk to my friend about our performance and started comparing it to the other schools.
While we patiently wait for the last few bands to finish performing, I start to think back to my first marching assessment and how much I’ve changed and matured as a marcher. At my first assessment, we got a 2 which means excellent. We all were upset, but it made us train harder for the next season. I started to stay late after practice with our drum major and field commander to help march better and to pick out things that I could work on.
I get tapped out of my thoughts by Lyric shoving her hand warmers in my jumpsuit to get my attention, clearly it worked. She said that I need to “get out of my feelings” because the judges are sending scores. We all huddle up by the fences, not only to hear the score, but because it was colder than an icebox. “Manchester High School, Excellent. Varina High School, Superior. Midlothian High School, Superior. Thomas Dale High School, Excellent.”
They are getting closer to my school, I thought. And just as that came to my mind, I cover my mouth to muffle my heavy, hot breathing. The whole stadium is silent, then we all hear, “Lloyd C. Bird High School, Superior”. Everyone screamed and hugged each other, but I was stuck. I was gratified with the results, but I started to think back to when my godfather came to my first assessment. It all hit me so fast. Before he passed away, he told me that if I continue to work hard, I will get that superior. And I did, well we did. That made me realize that I finally achieved one of the biggest goals I set for myself in high school. Make him proud, make him proud. That’s exactly what I did.
After we celebrated and took pictures with our 5 new trophies, my band director pulls me aside and says, “I know how hard you have been working for this. I’m always hard on you because I know you can push yourself, and you did”. I felt so accomplished and overwhelmed at once. I wasn’t overwhelmed about the assessment, I was overwhelmed at the fact that I stuck through all of this and finally accomplished something. I talked about being the best marcher since I was in the 6th grade, that was when Meadowbrook High School had brought some of the band students to a football game and showed us what “Friday Night Lights” was all about.
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