When we left for Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Mecca of marching band, some of us felt as though we were jumping into the deep end of the pool without any floaties. Some left scratching our heads as to why our director entered us this competition. It didn't take much more than a good nights sleep in the Embassy Suites, a hot made to order breakfast, a good dose of caffeine, some snazzy band uniforms and some hair fashioned with bun magic to change attitude. The guard was ready to show off the new clock flags to all of Oklahoma, while as a whole band the kids showed what they had to offer.
I (along with lots of our parents) officially have high school football stadium envy. Union High School's stadium is sick! The whole school actually was sick. I think my kid's school is a fine establishment of education with nice classroom buildings and a grassy football field with suitable metal bleachers. However after sitting at the Union Tuttle Stadium from 11am-1030pm I am officially in awe of a town’s devotion to football and band, the amounts of money and donations that can drop into a high school facility. Score boards with video screens, memberships to the "Turf Club” with its catered pre-game meals, a two story all glass press box and a marching band with a near overflowing budget. Sick I tell you, all sick.
I will return in a few weeks to the Flyers Stadium to cheer on our undefeated football team, gaze over the grassy field as it fights off Fall with massive doses of water via the sprinklers. I will dance in the bleachers-- that come without a printed ticket or a seat number--to pre-game music blasted from our press box built of plywood and warmed by space heaters. I will listen to the pep music of the marching band that...that left Tulsa with a renewed spirit that they can compete and place high when in the company of the kings and queens of marching band world's greatness.
Yes friends we placed third in our division in prelims--which placed us fifth overall. Then we filled the bellies of our band with a hot dinner, warmed up the instruments for finals and took to the field under the moon and those massive stadium lights. Then the kids did it again.
One cool thing about this competition is that they offer a judge's review with your directors. For five minutes they can ask the judges anything and the judges will say things to the directors. One thing they said was our band has such a presence in our opening picture that they know something great is about to happen.When the bands all retreat out for finals awards we figured the kids would place fifth or sixth...accepting that would be fine being in the company they had been given. So, when they named the sixth place winner and then the fifth place winner and neither were our kids we braced for fourth. No fourth for us and I turned to my band mom friends and said "holy shitake mushrooms we made third?" Yep, third place for the Missouri band. The color guard got to perform there award routine when the drum majors were called to accept our pretty etched glass trophy…tis' a good day on Saturday in Tulsa to be a Flyer from Saint Louis--the only band brave enough in the United States not from Oklahoma to enter the competition.I love that when they dismiss the bands after awards (just like at BOA) the bands blend to congratulate and compliment one another. I love Robyn who helps me make bun magic, laughs at all my jokes and loves my text messages from the bus. I love, my, color guard girl.
And, I love ALL the color guard girls (even the ones who are not in this picture...where are you?).