Hello everyone! What a great, however full, UCMB weekend we just had. It was our one most full and intense weekend of the whole season. Friday evening instead of rehearsal we went right to a football game, with the kickoff at 8 pm. It was a good game, and we ended up winning! For post-game we got a chance to run straight through all four parts of our exhibition show, sort of as a warm-up for Sunday, and to show off to our friends, family, and alumni. Things felt good! The snare line as well as the twirlers continue to literally light it up in our part 2, which is the Firework/Skrillex part. As I have likely mentioned, we light the batons and snare drumsticks on fire with real flames. Beforehand, all of the performers have to get sprayed down with fire-retardant liquid, as well as their drums. But, it is a really awesome effect!
We didn’t get back to campus until around 1 in the morning. Personally, Saturday was filled with studying and homework in anticipation of the very full day to come on Sunday. Call time wasn’t absurdly early on Sunday- 11 AM- so I got a good rest. On the way to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, my bus of saxophones and clarinets watched Despicable Me and then The Big Lebowski. I know- they don’t go together to me, either. I remember last year on our longest bus ride, watching at least three different films over the day.
At the MetLife Stadium, we performed twice- once after each awards half of the US Bands (formerly USSBA) National Championships. High school marching bands from all around the country were competing for one last time of the season, in the huge stadium. There was a lot of energy from all of them, let alone us!
The strangest part about the performance for me was the difference in field markings. Usually we guide our forms, setting them up and so on, to the hash marks and the huge UConn C and the number markings, on the field (50, 40, 30). Here, on an NFL field, all of that was different. The NFL hash marks were there, which are 4 steps INSIDE our normal hashes, as well as vague remnants of high school hash marks in white tape, which are 4 steps OUTSIDE our normal hashes. So, basically, it was everything but what we needed. The numbers, like the “50″ mark, were also further infield than usual, which was distracting. After our first performance, people were telling me that they didn’t feel good about the drill (our forms), but everyone who had looked at the big screens showing our performance from above said that it was really great.
The second performance was late, at almost 11 pm. It was even better, I am sure! We were tired, but had the adrenaline rush in a good way. The only downside was that due to fire code regulations, we were not allowed to actually use fire inside the MetLife stadium. After the performance, though, we were all getting very emotional, especially after an inspiring address from Dr. Mills about how good our show was and about how we’ll miss the seniors, for who this was their last exhibition show ever. I definitely saw some crying, which was sad but not unexpected. We’ll all miss our seniors.
The bus ride back was pretty crazy for about an hour, with everyone’s energy high after such a long day and such a good time. We rolled out of New Jersey by about midnight, and I got a ride back to my dorm from someone in another section (thank you trumpets!) and was knocked out by 3 am. And yes, I did still attend my classes later on Monday morning. I just took a nap after it all.
After this, we only have one marching band performance left. It’s really sad in a lot of ways, at least for me. I have immensely enjoyed being a part of this year’s marching band. As we have our band council first round of nominations on Thursday, the reality of starting over is going to begin to set in. I’m not ready yet! But I’ll have to be, like us all.