Band State contest leaves lasting impression on writer


The band prepares to take the field at the Alamodome for state contest. (Alexis Rosebrock photo)

As I walked out onto the field, our chaperons and fans cheered us on. The butterflies in my stomach became active volcanos. The Alamodome. State. It felt like a dream. I marched onto the field prepared. I looked over to see Mr. Townsend lifting his hands so we could play the Choral. Our notes echoed throughout the dome and bounced back at me. It was so beautiful. The world stopped. The only thing I heard was my breathing, calming my nerves. John climbed up the back podium and waited for Citlali’s cue. He held his hands up, counted off, and the piano began.

It took us almost four whole months to prepare our show. Long hours and little sleep. The aching muscles and the stress was completely worth it. Back in August, during the Summer Band Camp, the directors were looking for certain people to have a spot in the show. In the second week of camp, the leadership and the directors were passing out the coordinates to every person who was in the show. I sat on the ground, listening to the different names that were being called.

“Flute 6, Carlynn Greene.“

I held my breath. This was a state year and I wanted to be in the show. It was a great honor to be in the show and perform with others that were chosen.

“Flute 7, Christina Do.”

I was happy. Not extremely, but happy. I was glad that I was in the show. That meant this was the second year in a row I would be in the marching show. The experience I would have to perform at state was going to be magnificent.

This began the long hours of practice. Set by set, I struggled to learn my spots. The show was difficult to learn, but it went well with our theme. The flutes all had fun learning the show and bonding with one another. We all depended on each other to make our sets perfect and had to keep up with each other.

Week by week we learned more of our show. In part five, there was a change where the large French flag flew over the entire band revealing the Eiffel Tower. Just learning our show was hard work, and with school and a crazy amount of homework, many of us had little time to ourselves. Any break I had I wanted to sleep. But I had other work to do, or I wanted to talk to my friends and have fun.

At the Area contest, we had the chance to rehearse at the stadium it was hosted, so the entire band took advantage. When we had gotten second at Area, I was happy, knowing we had advanced to State.

“You guys are still the only band in the state of Texas to advance to the State competition since 1988.” Mr. Townsend said. The entire band cheered, and the screaming rumbled in my ears. I felt as if I was in a daze.

On the day we departed for state, I was nervous. I wanted to get this over with, but at the same time I wanted to experience the time of my life. I looked out the window and saw some students wishing us good luck as we drove away. We were on the way to our first rehearsal site, which was in Austin. The humidity was so thick, it felt so uncomfortable to rehearse. After the two hours we had to rehearse, we were back on the bus on the way to our hotel. It was dinner then curfew. I had stayed up until 12 at night doing homework knowing I had set my alarm clock to 4:30. When I woke up, I had little to no energy but prepared myself. Today was the day that determined whether or not we performed at finals.

In the morning after our breakfast, we had our rehearsal. Another two hours of preparing ourselves, and having words of encouragement from the band directors. Then, 30 minutes later, we were at the Alamodome.The stadium was magnificent. It was such a beautiful place. Walking to our warm up spots, I began to feel nervous. The butterflies turned into acrobats doing summersaults. Our flute section had their prayer and their words of wisdom. As we lined up to perform, I felt even more nervous. Listening to the other band perform before us was already nerve racking enough, and just listening to the echoes of the audience gave me anxiety. But I knew I was prepared. All I had to do was give it my all and know that I’ve tried my hardest.

Now, let’s make the Duncanville band shine!

The echoes of the stadium confused me. I looked at John’s hands and counted out loud quietly. I listened. The music wasn’t lining up with my counting. The sets weren’t perfect, and the band’s energy was draining. The show was going wrong. We tried to make it up by counting out loud and marching as well as we could. We began to get to our feet again. We ended part three with cheers and laughs, and it was my best performance out of all of my performances. Part four began. I gracefully fluttered across the field and made it to my spot as early as I could. Counting, I lifted up my flute and listened for the soprano sax to play.

A wrong note.

I started to freak out. Something went horridly wrong. I felt the energy change dramatically. I was 6 steps away from the front sideline, and I watched as the front drop crew in front of me began to freak to as well. I looked to the side. I saw Mr. Brandon walk towards the soloists, and looking at them in concern. On the bright side, he kept going. He didn’t stop. All the woodwinds came in weak. We all continued the show as best as we can. The ending of the show was magnificent, but the Eiffel Tower bottom arc was crooked. We flutes didn’t line up from my perspective. I couldn’t react to late from it, but I decided to stay in my place or I would’ve stood out. We ended the show in pride, and I began to pray the judges and audience loved our show.

We all came off the field in worry, but soon was forgotten and our hopes were high in performing in the finals. We watched the last of the bands and watch Texas A&M Commerce perform. Then It was time for the results.

We cheered for our drum majors as the walked out, and cheered again when they called out our school. I screamed to the point my head hurt. I was proud of our band, and waited for the results.

The announcer acknowledged

“Performing 12th…” the announcer said.

I held my friends hand tightly. I felt anxious and felt acrobats doing many summersaults in my stomach. I tried to mentally prepare for the last band to perform.

“Leander High School!”

My heart dropped. I looked at my friend. I eyes began to water.

“We didn’t place…” I whined. “Why?”

Tears began to pour out of my eyes. I felt so defeated. I didn’t know what to say nor how to feel. I cried my eyes out and I couldn’t breathe. My friend gave me a hug and I felt so horrid. I felt as if I failed all my friends back at home. I felt as if I didn’t try hard enough. I felt like a complete failure.

“Oh, Chrissy…,” Tammy said. She hugged me tightly and I didn’t feel any comfort.

Mr. Townsend and Mr. Brandon walked to the front of the band and began their speech.

“Band. We are so proud of you guys and we know that you tried your hardest. Don’t let this bring you down. Don’t forget, you are still the only marching band in the state of Texas to advance to state finals since 1988 technically since 1987.”

My tears kept flowing as Mr. Townsend delivered his speech. After he dismissed us, he told us to keep our head up high and walk out with class and grace. We still have our legacy.

Placing 16th out of 40 at state is good, but not good enough for me. It left me heartbroken knowing our score. I loved our show and I wanted to perform one last time. Just one. It would leave me in a bittersweet memory for my first state year, and I want to work even harder for the next. I didn’t want to disappoint any of the juniors and seniors. I want to make them proud of the legacy they have left behind. I want them to know that they worked hard enough to get the entire flute section ready for the next years to come.

The Alamodome will be an unforgettable moment in my life, and I will always cherish this memory. This experience has left me speechless. I have never experienced something so grand. The tears, the blood, the pain. It was all worth it. All of our hard work was definitely worth it. State 2016 has left me in a daze. It felt like a dream.