Monday, October 31, 2011

This is how you get it done....

... or my three years in High School Marching Band

I know I've talked about this before... but since my guys won the state championship... indulge me.

I got tears watching the video that goes along with that above article. Why? Because moments like that you'll never forget.

Let me paint a picture of what it takes to stand on that field, and be presented as the state champion:

The season starts soon after the 4th of July. The band gets the music, the guard starts learning the flag work. Everyone gets refreshers (or lessons) on marching. By the end of that month everyone can march, left foot first. We can all take exactly 8 steps for ever 5 yards (10 steps going backwards). We can all stand at attention. We all have pride.

Every rehearsal starts that same. When I was in school it was 3 4 hour rehearsals a week, one 2 hour one. Everyone arrived at 5:45, because at 6 you were lined up in your sections and you marched to the field. You gave your very best while you were out there. If you messed up (dropped a flag, tripped over your feet, got yelled at by the Drill Staff) you did push ups. Trust me, the same mistake was never made again.

Band camp never yielded stories like they did in the movies. Band Camp was a week of 6 hour rehearsals in the hottest part of the summer. (The only story I ever had was when I nearly passed out) By the end the show has basically been learned. All that is left is perfecting it.

Starting soon after Labor Day, the competitions start. Those days are long: three hour rehearsal in the morning, dinner, dressing then off to compete. Competition started long before we got into the stadium. Competition started on the buses. Traditionally, the buses went silent as soon as we exited the highway. Everyone mentally went through the show, and got ready for the night's performance. After warming up, the band gathers, and the director says the same thing: "Say a prayer, say a silent prayer. not for yourself, but for others. That they might do their very best." That's the definition of team. Then the band gets into formation, and marches over. Silent feet, proud faces to the ticking of drum sticks.

How does West Genesee achieve excellence year after year? The staff, students and alumni expect excellence. It's as simple as that. The expectations are set high, the students practice discipline and everyone works hard.

That's why you saw tears in the eyes of the guard as the final score was read. They, and obviously the rest of the band set an amazingly high standard and worked spectacularly hard to achieve it.

And when you are touched by something as great as this, it changes you forever.

No comments: