September 28 went down as one of the most memorable days of my life.
As a member of the Tullahoma High School Marching Band, we spend every Friday night having the time of our life in the stands, playing pep tunes and putting it all out on the field during our halftime performance.
In addition to our Friday night performances, we also march competitively. In marching band competitions, you are given one opportunity with your fellow band members to perform the best you can and you're judged and scored on it.
Not one person on that field wants to fail; you just want the whole band to succeed.
It's not even about making first place; it's about having the best time possible while you're creating an amazing experience for the crowd.
Our band had two competitions for this year's marching season. Our second competition's destination was Albertville, Alabama.
On Saturday, our call time to the high school was 8:45 a.m. At that time, we were to be ready and set in the band room to start rehearsal.
We began by analyzing the previous Friday night's show to see what we had to fix in order to do well at the competition. After that, every one filed out to the band field and began rehearsal.
We ran through our marching drill, brushed up our music and fixed some minor visual issues until 11:30 a.m. After a lunch break we were ready to head to Albertville by 1 p.m.
After a very weird yet fun bus ride with my friends, we all unloaded and were allowed to go view other bands and eat at the concessions in the stadium.
Albertville High School’s campus is huge. It felt like a mile walk from the buses to the stadium, and I was already dreading the walk back. While we sat in the stands for the Jacksonville State University Band to play an exhibition performance, my mother styled my hair, as always, for my performance. As one of the three field commanders, I try to make my hair look decent since I take my hat off for competitions.
JSU’s band was the best band I have seen. They were louder than any Drum Corps International group I've seen perform. I couldn't even count the amount of sousaphones (marching tubas) on that field, there were so many. The performance gave me goosebumps.
After JSU performed, it was time to warm up. I put on my uniform and was ready as ever to go.
After our great warm up, we walked towards the stadium to finally perform one last competition with our seniors. In my mind, I dedicated that performance to my lovely sister, Courtney. She is very self-driven and full of will-power; trust me, she is also stubborn.
After our field crew set up all the props, it was time to perform our show, “Danse Macabre” for competition for the last time.
I put full emotion into the show: jumping, dancing, and even giving the best yet worst faces.
The music we created as a band was historical and (spoiler alert) very entertaining. I’ll bet not one audience member didn't enjoy that show. The color guard nailed their spins, the band nailed their musicality and the percussion nailed staying on tempo.
After the show, we made it back to the trailer while everyone's face was smeared with a smile. We had a few announcements, waited until 7:45 p.m., and headed right back out for the presentation of awards.
All of us officers set up our block and marched proudly out to represent our band. We patiently waited for our class awards, and was it worth the wait. The moment I heard "And also competing in the platinum division in class 4A..... Tullahoma High School," my heart raced and then I remembered I was being called to set. I was so excited yet nervous. We received superior ratings in every section, which are drum major, color guard, percussion and band.
Receiving the awards only went to prove how truly amazing our band is. I am just so proud of the effort we all put into just making the best experience for our audience and ourselves. We received first place drum majors and first place percussion in our class as well as the award for Most Entertaining overall.
After the awards, we held our trophies up high while dancing and singing towards the band in the stands. Shortly after, we all marched back to our trailer and did our after-performance ritual: the celebration circle. Our band captain, Douglas, delivered a touching speech for all the seniors in the circle. He nearly made everyone cry.
Seriously though, all you seniors will seriously be missed. You guys make up nearly all my band peers, and I can't believe it's your last year.
Also, I can't believe I will be in their position very soon.
Now the best ending of the night (in my opinion - thank you, snack crew) was a Yoo-Hoo and an OCP (oatmeal creme pie from Little Debbie). If you haven't experienced that snack combination, you aren't living life. It just hits you right in the heart with nostalgia as you also receive a rush from the sugar you just digested.
After snacks, we all loaded the buses and snored all the way home. The day was definitely one for the books.
Band is the only thing I will leave a Saturday that I should be sleeping to just make music with friends. Competitions are such a great experience, and I hope not to experience band without them. See you next year, competition season. The Tullahoma Band will be coming on strong.