This school year is proving to be a series of Lasts. H has already had his last halftime marching performance, the last marching competition and had his band perform in his last FBA Marching MPA. What in the world will we find to keep us busy on Saturdays next fall?
The last marching season followed the last summer band camp. No more all day or after school rehearsals in the scorching Florida sunshine. And no more surprise rain showers as he tries to get in that third piece and clean before the deadline.
We’ve taken the last of the students to the last FSU Tri-State Honor Band. There are also no more pep rallies for him with his band students boosting school spirit in the future.
The last first semester of school has ended and the last second semester has begun.
It’s now the last concert season of his career. In the next five months we will see his last SEUS Honor Band trip to Troy, the last solo/ensemble trip, and the last District II Small Schools Honor Band performance. SEUS is the one I’ll miss the most because in the previous four years we have also been able to see Andrew perform with the Troy University Symphony Band at this event. Of course, Andrew will be moving on to Grad school after this year to another university he can call his home.
The last FBA Concert MPA is looming on the horizon and I still remember the day I dropped H’s tuner, chipping the corner of that small black box, while waiting for the kids to go into warm-up. I miss that tuner. I know I will miss walking down the long dark catwalk with H to relay the final results of scoring to his students who are waiting at the bus after the concert. They’ve all worked hard and are holding their breaths for another superior score. Cheers go up as he delivers good news while I hold up the plaque. Eleven years of straight superiors is a grand accomplishment when you don’t always have the instrumentation of bigger bands. H spent a whole lot of hours rewriting parts.
Last year may have been the last State performance because you never know if you have what it takes until the scores come out for the MPA. Let’s hope it wasn’t and this year will be the last. I remember the year H made straight superiors at State – a hard feat to accomplish. Andrew was playing trumpet that year I think. It was before the percussion bug bit and took up residence in his body. H’s mother also was able to attend that performance – one of very few.
The last of the end-of-year trips will be sooner than we think. Six Flags Atlanta this year. It will also be the last trip on the ‘Cheese’. I know neither of us will miss that bus ride. School bus seats are not made for napping. I have a perpetual crick in my neck from the time we board until we step off the bus back at the school.
As I write this, we are traveling to Tampa to the last All-State convention. We’ve been going every year since Andrew made All-State in the eighth grade – playing his trumpet. I hated to see him give that up, but percussion is his calling and makes him a happy camper.
This year we are making the trip solo – no students – so H can attend some adjudication workshops to get certified to judge all those events I have listed above.
This will be a plus for small bands because he has been there – done that. To be honest, small bands never get a break with the judges judging you on the instrumentation of what you have instead of what you do with what you have. It’s not always an option to have a tuba and a trombone. He went years with no trombone and now has two and a tuba!
The work was hard, but fullfulling for him as he saw his students rise to the occasion. He worried – always – and would arrive home after a lousy rehearsal, ready to throw in the towel, and say, “I don’t think we are going to make it this year.”
I always told him not to worry and fret about it. “Those kids always come through for you.” And they usually did!
I’ll be able to attend some of these events again when H is judging, but it won’t be the same.