Our high school is grades 10-12, with the 9th grade still in jr. high. I think our town is the only one in Wyoming that has not moved the 9th grade into high school. Anyway, due to shrinking band participation, last year it was decided that the 9th grade would join the high school band, so there were actually two classes, 9th and 10th, that were new to marching band. That was a lot of students that needed to be taught from scratch, so the 2011 season was a rocky one with so many inexperienced kids. They ended up having to drop two out of the three movements in their show and focus on the one they knew best. This was a blow to them, as other schools were performing multiple movements and had longer shows. The scoring system consists of I-Superior (above average), II-Excellent (average), and III-Good (needs work), with several other awards called Caption awards for the six different sections of a marching band. The goal for every band is to receive a I-Superior, and all six Captions. For several seasons prior to 2011, our band had received the I-Superior rating with several Captions, but due to the problems of the 2011 season, they were given the II-Excellent rating, with no Captions, which boils down to being just okay. The judges said what the band did perform was good, there just wasn't enough. In truth, the judges were very kind.
This year, the band really stepped it up. With three grades of experienced marchers instead just two, it was easier to get the 9th graders trained. They started practicing earlier in August, with an intensive three day camp, and they have had practice every day after school for a couple of hours. They have even had practice on days when school was out. Because of all the hard work, the band has improved so much from last year! They had complicated music (which is all memorized, they do not march with their music), complicated patterns, they performed three movements, and the show was about twelve minutes long.
|Ready to go, Megan is at the xylophone.|
The kids were so excited to take their show to Festival this year, and had their eyes on that I-Superior rating. At the end of their show, they received enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation from the crowd and the other schools competing, which didn't happen for all of the bands. Sure that they had gotten their Superior, they were on cloud nine and began celebrating.
|Megan is back, left. Celebrating a successful show!|
But, it was not to be. This year, they again scored a II-Excellent with no Captions, despite being told they were much better than last year. Many of the kids were crushed, and tears were shed. Stunned, a lot of them could only ask why they didn't get the Superior rating. Chad and I were not able to travel to the competition this year to see it for ourselves, but I've been told by others in attendance that the performance was amazing, but that the judges this year were very tough.
After all is said and done, I think these kids should be very proud of what they accomplished this year, no matter what score the judges gave them. I hope they will hold their heads up high and know they did their best; they gave it their all and left everything they had on that field, and they were awesome! As for Megan, the passion for marching band burns brighter than ever, she is already talking about what's in store for next year, and her focus is on that Superior rating. Go get 'em, Megan!