Monday, November 04, 2013

Our Town

So let me back track a few years, 2 to be exact. Now I wasn't big on the high school band, band kids were geeks. I was sports, the band was lucky enough to play during one half at a home game when I was growing up.
Now I married into a "Marching Band" family. My wife wasn't in marching band but her siblings were. She has always like marching band though. And not only were they in marching band but they were in the American Fork Marching Band. Apparently unknown to me, AF is nationally famous, really good and all that jazz. AF band is the "be all to end all" as far as Marching Bands go?
In 2011 my oldest son joined marching band for Westlake High School out of Saratoga Springs Utah. Brand new school, only open for a couple years before he started. My wife helped out with everything as a "band mom". So naturally I was initiated as a "band dad". So I decided to help. I got put on "pit". It's all the percussion instruments that have to be pushed onto the field along with props and what not. All the heavy lifting kind of stuff, load and unload trailers that kind of thing.
It was cool, did a few performance run through's, then the "Weber Review". Not really a competition, just a show to see what we have and get critiqued on what needs to be fixed for competition. Didn't see many bands perform since I was busy with all the heavy lifting junk. The big band (5A) played last. I saw AF perform and was like, "This is it?" They weren't that great. Saw Davis high school after that and was blown away! Davis has a long standing awarding winning tradition also I come to find out. And rightfully so, they were amazing. From that performance I could see why people get into this stuff.
That season we had a great entertaining show (tribal thing), we didn't win alot of performances because of Timpview (get to that later). Can't remember what place we took that year in state but didn't make it to BOA finals.
Bring on 2012, now I didn't help with that season because I was still nursing a bad foot. But the show was great (colorful art theme), kids had matured, directors made changes to the show. Although first year was entertaining it was lacking certain criteria that won awards. So we started winning some captions, can't remember if we came in first place, I know we came in 2nd alot because of Timpview. Timpview has a long standing tradition of winning. They play it safe and hit all the points needed for awards, not entertaining but good and what is being looked at by judges. That year Timp went to another competition instead of the Red Rocks state finals, so without them there we won State in 4A division. We also made it into the BOA finals for the 1st time, place 10th out of 10 but it was still something with all the great shows that year. I think AF won the whole thing, Davis in 2nd. Davis got alot of 2nd place too. AF's show was better that year, Davis' was still cooler personally.
This year 2013 show titled "Our Town" (western theme) was the talk of the town after Weber review. AF had an amazing show that I actually liked and thought they deserved all the acclamation they received. Davis fell flat. Not sure what they were thinking this year? It did get better as shows went on but just not entertaining as the first 2 years seeing them.
1st competition rolls around "Mount Nebo". We killed it, won all 4 captions ( music, visual, color guard and percussion). Turns out Timpview has not been beat in 4A competition in 20 years! Not only did we win, we took all awards. It was amazing, everyone was busting, on cloud nine all that good stuff. An amazing feat.
Next week's competition Timpview came back with a vengence, they didn't like it one bit. They won the next one, but we still took some captions. Well after that they didn't beat us again the rest of the year! They took some captions so we didn't sweep, but still we won.
Another thing that burned a hole in there side was the fact that whenever we were announced they said, "4A state champs". Even though they won all the competitions last last year, we won the state finals they decided not to show up for.
Let me tell you about Timpview, they have always cut the band back to exact numbers not to exceed into the 5A category so they wouldn't have to compete against AF or Davis. At the last competition before state we won it all and swept everything again in 4A. Not only that but in total overall points we came in 2nd behind AF, beating out Davis and the other 5A bands. Skyview had an awesome show this year too, next to ours it was my favorite.
I learned that during a couple competitions we had scored one point higher than AF in a couple categories. Now that is crazy!!! We went to Idaho for a competition and swept all awards, we had put up 5A band scores a couple times.
The kids practiced so much this year, worked so hard and it paid off, big time!
State championships roll around and we are favored. Timpview changes their schedule to come to it and try to steal our accolades away. They fell 50 points short! They did steal percussion which sucked cuz my boy is on the drumline. But we got all other captions and 1st place.
BOA (Bands of America) is a national competition, our region was next day. We performed along with 26 other bands from all over Utah, California, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Only 10 were invited to participate in finals. We made it! We beat out several 5A bands to make it. From Utah there were AF, Davis, Skyview and us (Westlake).
Before the show at the trailers getting ready, kids were all crying. Because we made it, because some were seniors and it was the last show ever for them, last show of the year. Band director (who student taught under AF's director, thats why we are good) gave them a little speech to "stop crying, don't let it our here, let it all our on the field. Cherish that you have one more performance together and give everything you can to those seniors and to eachother. You deserve to be here." He also made a little comment about Timpview, can't remember the exact words but it was something to the effect of, "glad they came, so we could leave no doubt as to who was the champ this year".
We had one slip from what I saw, other than that the performance was spot on! Of course AF and Skyview were too. The huge bands from Cali and Nevada did great too. At awards they started naming 10th place, 9th, 8th... We all just screamed and cheered, not because of the bands that placed, but because our name wasn't called. They named off Davis, they named off that giant band from Nevada, some from Cali, not us yet. We were all thinking, "no way we made it to the top 5". They name off 6th place, not us! We were almost horse by that time, some band moms started the tears already. They named Skyview 5th place. Which was crazy because their show was so amazing. Then we were all hoping "top 3?". Well at 4th they called Westlake. Then yada yada, 1st place American fork. AF also swept all but one caption.
But 4th place among all that talent and huge bands was crazy. And at only the schools 5th year in existence. At the end when it was over the band moms rushed the field. The drum line moms had become real good friends over the years, its cool to see.
Because of our success we were invited to submit an application and video to the Rose parade committee. AF and Davis have played in the rose parade, Macy's thanksgiving parade, played for presidential inaugurations, ect... So this was a big deal. We didn't get accepted just yet, but were offered the opportunity to play in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor parade and represent the USS Utah battleship/carrier in December 2014. The PR and fundraising tour has already begun.
My boy was on TV locally for a brief second as they talked about this seasons accolades and future opportunities.
Their school has been on the local stations several times actually, the band a quite a few times.
I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year's show. We will most likely become a 5A band by just a few kids. So we will have to compete against AF,Davis, Skyview and a couple other big good 5A bands. But they are not looking at it like, "oh great we have to compete against AF and Davis." They are looking at it like, "We ARE going to compete against AF and Davis!"
I will probably have another child in band too. Thats gonna be crazy expensive, they better do some fund raising! But what a great opportunity for them both. I feel blessed as a parent for these kids and the good programs they have a chance to partake in.
In school I was never part of anything great or special, so it does a heart good to know that my kids will be!

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