The Ottumwa Courier


September 6, 2013

Don't forget the band


Being a member of the marching band provided unique opportunities to persevere through adversity. My freshman year, in my first-ever marching band contest, we were coming off the field. As we were paired off, the girl next to me whispered, "Tracy, I lost my shoe in the middle of the first song. I did the whole set in one shoe." Despite the shoe malfunction, we were awarded first place in our division. Then came State Marching Band Contest. That was on our home field, but the day was so windy that due to our feather plumes, our hats ended up on the sides of our faces. That didn't stop us, though. We still received a Division I rating and one of the highest scores of the day.

The Monday after a contest, we often remained in the band room studying tape. Yes, you heard right, studying tape. Our director would take us through video of our performance and point out what looked good and what needed worked on. We also listened to the audio of judges making their comments as the walked around us through our show and studied forms they filled out with advice on how to improve.

Much like a football team, we had several "trick plays" up our sleeves. We had several bright yellow banners pulled out of the middle of the field at the end of "Jesus Christ, Superstar." It created a great visual affect from above. My freshman year, with our "Phantom of the Opera" set, our routine ended with the final soloist doing a disappearing act. Then there was the disappearing act when we played a "Star Wars" medley. The entire band knelt down at the end while the flag corp pulled a giant black tarp with silver stars over us for another stunning visual effect.

So the next time halftime comes and the marching band takes the field, remember that it's more than just filler and give them some appreciation for what they do. These are students who put in a lot of heart, soul and work into their craft — just like the football team (or any other athlete).

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