On Saturday, we had our final football game of the academic year.
This wasn't the only reason why it was special, though.
I guess the last football game of the year is also Band Day. This is when high schools from all over northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota come to play with us. In other words, I got to play the role of "cool college kid" again!
I was feeling much better Saturday than I did on Thursday and Friday, days in which I missed school (and, in Friday's case, spending six hours working on a computer lab that was due the same day that was insanely complex). I got up early, took a shower (and my antibiotics, 500 Mg of Cephalexin), packed my stuff, checked my mental list twice, and head out. The first leg of my odyssey to the Hughes from my dorm (no buses run on the weekends) is straight down University Avenue. The second leg starts when I turn at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. As I already previously established, the President of the university's house is practically right across the street to the Fritz. I pass it every time I go to the Hughes.
I had the fortune to have the President and First Lady drive past me in their car as they left their house. They definitely recognized me as a member of the band, too. They waved at me.
I got acknowledged of my existence by the University President. So freaking cool.
After I dropped my stuff off in the band room, I headed to Wilkerson to get some breakfast...only to realize that, oh yeah, the dining center doesn't open till 11. That has to be one of the most ridiculous things ever. 11 is LATE. Even for later football games, I have to bolt down my food in the instant the place opens so that I'm not late for my call time. Since it was 10ish, I opted to get two jelly-filled donuts at the to-go cafe. At least I'll be hungry for lunch.
When I got back, I spent my sweet time repacking everything in my hat box and putting on my uniform. The buses came earlier than usual, causing us to leave at 11:15. The e-mail we got a day or so earlier said to be at the band room at 11:15. This resulted in a few people missing the bus, luckily not including me.
After getting to the Alerus, we discovered that we couldn't practice at the moment thanks to the Southern Oregon Raiders practicing on our field. Luckily, they were gone after we spent time putting all of our crap in the stands, so we got to practice our pregame and our "halftime" shows.
"Halftime" is in quotes because our normal halftime show would not be played at halftime. Instead, we were going to play it for four-hundred-or-so high school kids in the stands before the game, and play with them in one huge formation during halftime.
While I was feeling better than I did the few days before, I was still sick. My bronchitis reared its ugly head after our rehearsal of halftime, when I had a really bad coughing fit. Like, dry-heaving and stuff, it was that bad. I held off on using my rescue inhaler, though, in part because it would've made me shaky before causing me to crash, and in part because I stopped coughing by the time I made it to my seat in the stands with all of my stuff.
The kids started flooding in shortly after. We broke up into sections and got into circles so that the incoming kids would know where to go. I call them "kids" because they seemed so damn young! And I thought I was oh-so-mature in my senior year of high school!
We had about 40 people in our high woodwinds group, a good amount of them being flutes. Thankfully, we outnumbered the stupid trumpet section. The poor french horns had, like, seven people. And we had a TON of tubas.
And then the issue came of setting everyone to their spots and practicing the halftime show.
Here's the thing: we rehearsed the music for this on Monday's rehearsal and Friday's rehearsal. The previous post titled "Horrible" was posted on Monday, before the scheduled band rehearsal, which I ended up not going to due to a fever. There was no rehearsal Wednesday, and I missed school on Friday, when there was another rehearsal.
Which pretty much meant that I was winging this, while sick, on a new 3 1/2-sized reed (which is harder to play on than an already broken-in, 3-sized reed).
I still kicked ass.
Afterwards, they spent forever getting their butts in the stands (it did NOT help that they had to be in alphabetical order), and the line was long enough to be winding on the field, which we were setting up for our "halftime" show on.
And then we played it (Caravan, I Just Wanna Celebrate, a scatterdrill so we could get to our spots, and The Pretender). And, yet again, I kicked ass, in part because of the new reed; the bigger the number, the thicker it is. The thicker it is, the harder it is to play on, but the trade-off is that you can play much louder with far less squeakage. Which makes it very, very useful for marching band shows.
We had to really book it afterwards, though, because we had to play for our arriving team.
Lunch was weird. It took forever, for one, because all of the high-schoolers got to line up first. There were only two lines, and the food was nachos, so it took a while. I spent time by passing the line, getting a cup of water, and using it to take my antibiotics (three times a day!), then going back to the stands, grabbing my Nintendo DS, going to the back of the virtually non-existant line, and playing it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll get past all of the boring shit. Hold your horses.
Fast-forward past lunch and the performance for the tailgaters. Our pregame had to be performed earlier than usual, because there was some special stuff going on. This "special stuff" was for things I forgot to mention earlier on in this post. You see, while we the band thought of the game as Band Day, the football game was really special in that, one, it was senior day for the football players, and two, the game was in dedication to all military vets and service members (police officers, firefighters, etc.). So some things were happening differently.
For instance, while walking over to my side of the field pre-pregame, they were playing the music video for Citizen Soldier on both viewscreens.
During pregame itself, after we were awesome and made of win and sitting on the field in our UND formation, they took their sweet-ass time calling out the names of the football players. This kind of pissed me off, because my band director last game had to rush through the names of the seniors during halftime to make sure we wouldn't cause the other performers during halftime to be late.
After pregame, they had members of the Army ROTC rappelling from the ceiling, one of them doing it head first.
From up here.
...however, since I was on the sidelines in full uniform, I didn't have my camera with me, so I couldn't take pics of them doing it. It was really cool, though.
And then kickoff happened and we went back to the stands. The Band Day kids were in a portion of the stands next to us. Though they had their instruments (with the exception of the drumline), we were the only ones allowed to play.
The high-schoolers are the ones in white. They got free T-shirts.
Don't worry, the student section was actually relatively packed a little while after I took this picture.
The drums of the high-schoolers were too big to put in the stands all together (as they would only fit in the very first row), so they were left sitting behind the endzone.
Here's the thing about the Southern Oregon team: they're the Raiders. Texas Tech, which we were against during our first game of the academic year, are the Red Raiders. As a result, we took it upon ourselves to mock the Southern Oregon team by acting like our hands were pistols and shooting them in the air, just like the Texas Tech fans. Also, everything was in RAIDER VISION*.
*(what the viewscreen would say in Texas Tech before a replay of what just happened)
Here are some random football pics:
Getting ready to kill some brain cells.
The people on the other side, which basically consists of anyone who isn't a student.
...and brain cells have been killed. People were joking that they were watching hockey, because we actually had a few fights and dogpiles start up.
In the stands, I usually sit next to a clarinet player named Phil, who is a freshman. He also happens to be a stage actor, and performed in one of the latest shows on campus, "Godspell" (even the plays here are religious).
Well, during the second quarter, since things were different halftime-wise, we had no idea when to come down to the sideline. The drum major said that herself, that she would basically have to tell us to come down at a moment's notice in full uniform. The senior low woodwind section leader transcribed this to us, and the last thing he said was "Be prepared".
The first thing to pop up in my head was The Lion King. This also happened to be the first thing that Phil thought of, too, because he and a tenor player sitting behind literally started, word for word, acting out the dialogue in the middle of the song in The Lion King. It was absolutely hilarious!
Phil (on the left) also sang "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (and the dialogue in the middle of that) from The Little Mermaid during the football game before this one. It was also hilarious and awesome.
Long before we left the stands, the high-schoolers got on the sidelines, behind the endzone. Five game-minutes afterwards, we finally came down. At this point in the game, we were losing, 3 to 17.
But something awesome happened after that. I guess the combined awesomeness of the high-schoolers and us on the sidelines did something, because we got a touchdown and a field goal. And then, in thirty seconds we tied with them, 17 to 17. It was one of the most amazing things ever.
Halftime was interesting. Five hundred people on the field in arcs, playing three songs. Nothing noteworthy happened.
After halftime, I no longer had the stress of wondering when exactly I had to be in uniform, so I started taking lots and lots of pictures. There was also the fact that the game took an eternity.
Yet another dogpile.
Us doing one of our cheers.
It turned out that I wasn't the only one taking pictures.
One of the colorguard members. We both took a picture of the other with our cameras in our faces. She's apparently a photography major.
Speaking of colorguard, a good number of them have these band shirts that they like to wear. For the longest time, I've found them hilarious, but I now finally got a picture of one.
Colorguard Scoring Guide
on the field, if you hit...
Another Flag = 0 points
A Flute = 10 points
A Clarinet = 10 points
A Saxophone = 15 points
A Trumpet = 20 points
A Trombone = 25 points
A Baritone = 35 points
A Sousaphone = 50 points
A Drummer = 55 points
A Drum Major = 65 points
The band director...RUN!
In high school, we always joked about how we'd get more points in our scoring if a flag hit a judge on the field. Oh, and just so you know, "Sousaphone" is another name for "Tuba", specifically, the marching tubas. Pretty sure they're named after John Phillip Sousa, he of a hundred famous marches that sound exactly the same, but don't quote me on that one.
And speaking of cameras, we actually had a cameraman come up to us in the stands to film two of our drummers yelling "We are North Dakota!" to the camera.
I mentally responded shortly after he left that the two drummers had egos the size of North Dakota.
During one of the time-outs during one of the later quarters, this guy takes a random person from the audience and asks them three questions. For every question they get right, a T-shirt is flung to a designated section. The last one is always ridiculously easy to ensure that one shirt is always thrown.
For the lulz, we always collectively yell "False" to throw the guy off. During one of the hockey games, it actually worked! And yes, there is a "False" choice, I just managed to get a picture of the viewscreen after they showed the correct choice.
Some of the high-schoolers left directly after halftime, while some stayed longer, depending on what school they were from. The ones that stayed got to join us in playing a little bit. One of the songs was "Hey Baby", which, as Mom remembers, was a song we played a lot in high school. Hilariously enough, it is the exact same arrangement!
High schoolers in our ranks. I actually kinda "recruited" the girl on the right. She said that she'll be coming here in two years (she's a sophomore).
More high schoolers!
And now, a word on who conducts us.
The person who usually does this is the drum major. We have two of them, so they alternate between quarters. I couldn't get a decent pic of the one who does the first and third quarters, so here's the other one.
You can just see the mischievous glint in her eyes!
I guess one of the traditions of Band Day is to let the seniors conduct the band through one song. That was added to my list of "stuff I can't wait to do when I'm a senior".
He's technically an alumnus, but he got to conduct us anyway. He's pretty nice.
A tuba player. He sure looks happy to be on the ladder!
Corey, one of the many obnoxious trumpet players. The fact that he gets to play all of the solos in our halftime tunes (including The Pretender) doesn't help this. Even his conducting is overdramatic, though he did this for comedic effect.
The infamous tenor player who is always the ringleader behind the drumline's many shouted insults. I couldn't get a pic of him conducting, so here he is on the sideline.
The low woodwinds section leader. He's pretty nice, too. He abhors the idea of going here for graduate school (and being in band during graduate school) for some reason, and he's actually graduating this semester.
A colorguard member. She's the one who let me photograph the back of her shirt.
A french horn player. He's pretty cool.
You might've noticed that I didn't mention any of their names. This is because I'm extremely bad with names and I don't remember any of them.
After a fourth quarter that seemed to take FOREVER, we finally ended the game on a winning note. The score was something like 30 to 22, with us winning.
And now, finally, what you've all been waiting for!
I badgered the colorguard member with a camera to take a picture of me in full uniform.
...wait for it...
...wait more for it...
Ok, so my hat's crooked. Whatever.
In years past, they've actually had chains on the front of the uniform, with braiding on the shoulders, and a half-cape. This is rather plain in comparison.
And so ends this academic year's marching band season. It's been rather fun. I still have hockey games, and I was able to enroll in Marching Band for next semester, so I'll still be taking game pics.
Oh, did I ever tell you my classes for next semester?
Communications 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking (Honors)
Computer Science 161 - Computer Science II
Math 208 - Discrete Mathematics
Music 271 - University Band
Music 272 - Marching Band
Physics 110 - Introductory Astronomy
Space Studies 410 - Life Support Systems (online course)
It would be really nice if I knew what the hell Discrete Mathematics was.