EDITOR’S NOTE: Sara Rundgren is a senior member of the nationally-recognized Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band. Playing flute, she is chronicling the marching band during the 2013 season in their bid to return to the Texas UIL State Marching Band Competition.
As the band dragged their feet to the field in a zombie-esque fashion, it was obvious that not everyone was thrilled about our first Monday morning rehearsal.
Despite the fact that we were practicing before the sun was even up, the band quickly became more alert as the morning went on. Our objective of the day was to review what we had learned the week before.
We repped “The Ogre” in order to make it stronger for its debut at the West Mesquite game on Friday.
The sun was still ablaze, but there was a nice breeze to fan our burning faces. We began the rehearsal in the fundamental block and did our normal warm up routine. Seniors were called out of the block to sign up for buses for away games and contests, followed by juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
Immediately after our warm up, we set up the end of “Movement 3” and tested different choreography moves to incorporate to the show.
After much deliberation, we still aren’t completely sure. We then isolated the “Woodwind Quartet” that features flute, clarinet, bassoon, and oboe. We had three different arrangements of the feature and tried them all out. Mr. Armstrong and the rest of the directing gang finally made a decision on which sound they liked best and now it is a matter of tweaking it to perfection.
The primary phrases that could be heard all throughout the rehearsal were “Again,” “Another,” “Last time,” and “Just kidding, do it again.”
We are at that part of the show where we just rep, over and over again, making each new repetition better than the last.
That is what it takes to be a champion.
We occupy the field to find new 4-foot panels to line the field when we perform. A vibrantly colored forest decorates the front sideline with hues of green, delicate butterflies and ornate flowers.
In addition to the props, the color guard will now be performing with sheer black sheets that cover them from head to toe. The guard will wear these at the beginning of the show to emulate an eerie mist billowing out of the trees.
Today is finally the day that we learn more of the show. The next movement is the ballad, which will be quick and easy to learn. We get the first two pages on the field and rep that for a while.
We won’t perform this segment until next week. The rest of the rehearsal is spent on nothing other than repetition. Although this week was spent monotonously doing rep after rep, it has made the band unbelievably stronger.
The show up to the 4th movement is solid. It still requires some more tweaking, but we are at a great place. It is wonderful to be able to tweak details like choreography and music features, because when the minutest details are perfected, the entire quality of the show is amplified.
The morning started out a bit rocky when our speakers died. But it was the perfect opportunity to begin performing without a metronome. We now had to rely on watching the drum majors and using our internal pulse.
We spent the rehearsal doing production runs. Instead of repping small sections of the each movement, we repeated a single movement over and over again. This helped us paste everything together and concentrate on the arrivals of each phrase and picture.
After isolating each movement, we did a final run of the show. It was made clear to the band that tonight’s performance in the West Mesquite stadium is where we will be performing at the Area Marching contest to determine if we advance to State in October.
This is a huge opportunity for the band to get a feel for the stadium and to mentally and physically prepare us for our future performances at contests.
Our first marching performance without the metronome tonight was rough, to say the least.
We have a lot of work to do.
On the bright side, we didn’t fall apart. It’s reassuring to know that we still have three weeks until our first contest, which will give us plenty of time to perfect the show.