Gator Pride

Marching Band Season begins at 0900 7/27/15. Here’s something I wrote about one of my first experiences as a high school parent.

White plumes stood proudly on top of navy blue shakos. The golden autumn afternoon sun spotlighted navy blue uniforms with gold trimmed sleeves and a gold buckle on a white sash across the chest. All eyes were focused forward on the task at hand. They’d memorized every note and every dot in preparation for this moment. The band stood in perfect formation until the announcer asked “Drum majors is the band ready”. The drum majors answered the call with a sharp salute. “Are the judges ready” the announcer asked. The judges indicated they were ready with a wave. The announcer permitted the band to perform. “Perry Hall High School Marching Gators you may take the field in competition”.

The drum majors conducted the band as they marched and played in perfect harmony. Brass instruments were pointed high in the air indicating confidence and discipline. The color guard danced synchronously with the music letting their flags flow with the melody. This marching band performed what seemed to be a flawless field show.

There were three categories of marching bands in competition that day. The category depended on the size of the marching band. Each marching band performed their field show with the same level of intensity. While the judges were deliberating the host school performed their own phenomenal field show.

Waiting for the judges to deliberate seemed like an eternity but it forced me to reflect back upon the events of this marching band season. It was a first for our son. He was a freshman trombone and trying to adjust to high school. He carried a heavy load of honors and gifted and talented courses and was deeply involved in preparing for his upcoming Sacrament of Confirmation. My husband had just begun graduate school. I was in a job that I was severely burned out in and had just accepted a transfer to a new department. In the beginning we had difficulty adjusting to this new chapter of our lives but our family soon began to march in sync with the band.

We’d attended every high school football game and marching band event that our son had performed in that season. The band had taken first place in the two previous competitions and marched away with “Best Overall Effect”, “Best Visual”, “Best Color Guard”, “Best Percussion” and “Best Music”. This band was on fire!

The judges were finished deliberating. The drum majors from each band were called back onto the field to form a line and face the crowd. They all stood at attention and with good sportsmanship, applauded each band as their award was announced. Finally, our category of bands was to receive their awards.

With eight bands in the category, our son’s band was in the largest category. Eighth, seventh, sixth place bands were called. I sighed with relief and my body was starting to tingle. Our son’s band had not been called. The fifth, fourth, third place bands were called. My heart was beating uncontrollably now. Our son’s band still had not been called.

The second place band was called and it wasn’t our son’s band. My husband and I looked at each other with tear filled eyes. Time had stopped for us at that moment with the realization of what was about to happen.

Seconds later the news roared through the microphone, “With a score of 82.738, Best Music, Best Effect and Best Percussion, the Category 3A 2012 Maryland State Championship goes to The Perry Hall High School Marching Gators”. My husband, our daughter and I flew to our feet, embraced and cheered until our vocal cords hurt. The Perry Hall crowd in the stands erupted with foot stomping cheers and applause. From across the stadium we could hear the Marching Gators celebrating their victory in a similar fashion and we knew our son would be so excited and proud. This fine marching band had won what was rightfully theirs; what they’d worked so hard for. They were Maryland State Champions.

Tomorrow our son will begin his final season with the Perry Hall High School Marching Gators as a senior trombone and the low brass section leader. This state championship experience as a freshman inspired our son to take his music to higher levels and participate in multiple extra curricular music ensembles in addition to Marching Band. As a parent, I couldn’t be more proud.

Being a marching band and band parent is no different from other extra curricular activities. It’s about carting kids around after school, weekends full of activity, late night homework, a messy house, and eating on the run. It’s also about watching your child socialize, evolve and enjoy themselves in their chosen activity. Lucky for me just as soon as my son marches out with the class of 2016, my daughter will march in as a freshman trumpet with the class of 2020 and I get four more years of moments like that 2012 USBANDS Maryland State Championship.

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