Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cross Country Banquet

Cross Country season has now been officially over for a while because our team did not make it to State. On Thursday we had our Banquet to end the season. I didn’t really want to go because I had a ton of homework that night and I was tired since it was Thursday but my parents made me so I had no other choice. For dinner we had Fizzoli’s which was yummy. There was spaghetti and fettuccine alfredo which is my favorite. There were also bread sticks which were delicious. It is not as good as Zio Johno’s I must admit, but it was still good.

After we were done eating we went up into the library to talk about the season. The boys have a bigger team then we do so they got to stay in the cafeteria where we ate. Our coach spoke about how good our season was and that making it to state is a good goal for the future, but that it was okay we didn’t make it because we did the best we could. After this he handed out the awards to everyone and then individually talked about each of the seniors. We only had three seniors this year, and by the time our coach was done talking about the last girl KM (irunifly) he was crying. When I say he was crying, I don’t mean that he was bawling his eyes out but you could definitely see tears welling up.

After this we got to give the seniors their senior gifts. I was excited to give them their gifts because we put a lot of effort into making them this year. We gave them each a personalized blanket that had their name and the words, cross country, embroidered on them. Each blanket was made with different fabric and the juniors got together as a team to make them. I think they really liked their gift, especially since it was actually usable. In the past, juniors(who are in charge of the senior gifts), get too hooked on giving the seniors a bunch of little trinkets that are supposed to be funny, instead of getting them one really nice item that shows how much they meant to the team. Our assistant cross country coach also had pillow cases (green and gold!) with their names embroidered on them as well. It is a tradition for her to do this every year for the seniors. For our coach’s gift, we gave him a pair of shoes with his name embroidered on them. I guess embroidery is just popular this year.

Indoor Marching Band Classic

Even though marching band is over now, on Monday it wasn’t over. Monday was the last time we marched our show. It was sad to know it was the last time we would get to perform the show because I really enjoyed it. Nevertheless, Monday was still a really fun day.

We had to rehearse at the U.S. Cellular Center at around 1 o’clock which means I didn’t have to go to 5th or 6th hour which was really nice. We have to rehearse the show because we must condense it. We are marching inside on the floor of the U.S. Cellular Center which is not as big as a football field, so there are specific parts of the show we have to change. So after 4th hour I hopped in the car with my friends and we rode downtown to rehearse. We rehearsed for about 2 hours and then we were dismissed to go home, only to come back to school at 5 o’clock. At this time we had to change into our uniforms and put our instruments together because unlike most performances, we weren’t changing at the location of the performance. This was not a competition, but it was a performance. The show is called the Indoor Marching Band Classic. All the bands from the CR Community School District and the Marion School District come to perform. Even though it is not a scored competition it is still important because the show is broadcast on local television for the rest of the year, all the way up until the next Indoor Marching Band Classic is tapped. This is what motivates us to give a good last show.

Another cool thing about the night is that after all the high school bands perform we get to watch the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band. Every year a different marching band comes. My freshmen year the UNI marching band came and my sophomore year the ISU marching band came. Out of the three performances I’ve seen the Iowa Marching Band was definitely my favorite. They don’t actually march a show for us, but they do play really good music. They can’t march anything because the U.S. Cellular Center is not the size of a full football field and their band is very large. Not only does the marching band come but the Iowa Hawkeye Dance team and the Iowa Hawkeye cheerleaders come too. It was fun to see them perform. After this it is a tradition for all the high schools to stand and play a song with the Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band. We rehearse it earlier in the day before the show starts so it usually sounds pretty good. After this we get back on the buses and head back to the school to unload. It is always a fun night every year but it is a school night as well, and we don’t get back until about 10:30, which makes it a late night.

Concert Band Auditions

Now that marching band is over during first hour I have concert band. This is really depressing for me because concert band is really boring. But it is also kind of nice in a way because it is a lot less time consuming. No more 3 hour, Thursday night practices or being gone at competitions all weekend. So in that respect it is nice to just relax a little bit. Unfortunately though, I didn’t get to relax until auditions for concert band were over. I had my audition for concert band on Thursday. It went pretty well and I was very happy with my chair. I am currently 2nd chair flute in Symphonic Sand. For those of you not in band, here is a little background information. There are three bands: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony. Concert Band is the name of the lowest band, usually made up of freshmen. This can be kind of confusing though because concert band is also the general name for band during 2nd and 3rd term when we don’t march. Symphonic Band is the middle band and it is made up mostly of sophomores and juniors (that’s me!). Wind Symphony is the top band and it is mostly made up of seniors. This being said, the grade of which you are in has nothing to do with your placement within the band.

So I am 2nd chair in the middle band, Symphonic Band. I am very happy with this because last year I was last chair in this band of about 8 flutes, and this year I am 2nd. A lot of my friends are in Wind Symphony but I don’t mind because the flute section is really competitive. Where I am at right now in my placing is actually a pretty high chair, even though it might not be considered that in other sections.

My audition went pretty well but not perfectly, not that anybody’s ever does. The audition process can get complicated at times but it is not too bad. Firstly, our director posts our identification numbers on the wall with the times we are to audition at. These auditions are live but also blind. This means our director is in the room but she doesn’t know who the person auditioning is. This is so that all seating arrangements are fair and there is no bias. When you go into the room, you write your name on a sheet so she knows the order of which everyone has come in, in case anybody is missing from the identification sheet. Then she will start naming scales, if you know the scale she calls out then you play it, if you don’t, just remain silent and she will go onto the next scale. There are 12 major scales and she will eventually call them all out. It is important that you don’t speak because then she will know who you are, which will ruin the whole point of the blind audition. After this she instructs you to play an etude that you have prepared. An etude is just a short song. Before auditions she hands out two etudes on a sheet of paper, you receive more points if you play the harder of the two etudes. I played the harder one. Then there is the sight reading. Sight reading is playing a sheet of music that you have never seen before. This is usually scary because you only get one shot to play the sheet of music that you have never seen before and therefore haven’t gotten a chance to practice. Because of this, usually the sight reading portion has a fairly easy key signature and does not express a wide range of notes.

On Monday, concert band begins to rehearse. Unfortunately, this is the beginning of a boring season of concert band. I am a little more excited than last year, because my chair is higher. I like where I am, because if I was first chair I would have to play the solos and the piccolo, which would not be fun. I also know that the music will be harder because I will play Flute 1 music instead of Flute 2 music but I am still partially excited. Usually, during first term we have band for two days and then get one day off. This is because there are 3 bands, and only two directors. Second term, one band gets moved to rehearsing second hour, but until then we have to make do. It was always nice to have a study hall every two days but I don’t think that will happen this year because the freshmen already have 2nd hour because they didn’t do marching band this year. So I guess that issue is now simply a problem of the past.