Finding Grace – Marching Band Season

I know, you might be thinking, what? That’s kind of an… interesting… place to find grace. I think we sometimes assume that “grace” sounds like such an eloquent word that we must associate it with nature and poetry, but like anything, it’s in the hands of those who behold it.

Before I share more, let me back up. A friend of mine commented on my last post, In Search of Grace, by indicating possibly seeing me post about my journey towards re-discovering my grace and at the time, I hadn’t thought there would be more, but then, recently, I thought, why not? (Wow, that was a lot of commas in that last sentence. And the fact that I left it as is tells you how much editing I [don’t] put into blog posts. I promise I am far more diligent with my fiction writing…) One of the things I know will help me is writing, and why not put some of that directly to use in the public journaling. The content in these kinds of posts is not for everyone, but sometimes I pull useful bits from others’ posts like this that help me, so perhaps some of you can find a useful bit, too.

In my original post, I did not talk about a larger root cause to my trampled grace. It’s pretty obvious to me that our current political and social climate are the underlying factors, but there’s no point in dwelling on that cause because I’ve long since accepted our nation and society’s situation, and as this therapist’s post talks about, “to accept is not to say, ’This is okay.’  It is to say, ‘This is what is.’” And so, that is why I seek rather than dwell.

So, back to the journey. Marching Band Season. For most of you outside of Minnesota, your reaction might be like my friend Kathleen’s, which is “Huh? Already?” While larger Minnesota bands certainly participate in the fall rendition of the season with field shows, we here also have taken field shows to the streets for parades. The season is short, but intense and I love it.  It fills me with joy and pride to watch my oldest child (tuba player)

Oldest child playing tuba in marching band 2017

My kiddo is the one on the right.

in a leadership role and to see how strong and solid the band becomes by the close of their competitive season at the end of June in Alexandria, MN.

I talked with another marching band parent earlier in the month about how I don’t live and breathe it like my husband, but that’s only partially true. He loves to help out all over the place with practices, camp, and during the parades. I’m happy to do some of that, but in truth, I mostly just like to watch. I can watch these kiddos perform their show over and over and over again (and I do – both live and through video).

The band director, Amy Powers, every year talks about how it’s not about winning awards, it’s about character development. Growth. This is what I see when I watch my kid’s particular band vs any others in the parade. I mean, obviously I will always feel differently watching my own kid and the band play than any others, but there’s an added piece to it. A couple of schools can awe me with their size, sound, and smooth formations, but they still none of them compare to watching my own kid and his band mates, who I’ve heard about all season through the marching band staff and through my son as they’ve worked their butts off to pull it all off. They learn marching style first, then build up stamina, style, and sound.

Their shows tell a story, of sorts, and that is where the color guard comes in. I know that “twirling flags” is not for everyone, but I will tell you that for our small band (58 total members, including the color guard), it’s what pulls the whole thing all together and what contributes to the awards the they do win.

marching band at the ready before starting their show

This is one of my favorite moments – when they are lined up and ready to start. Anticipation!

I know every band puts in the hard work, but as I’ve mentioned, there’s a certain amount of extra pride that kicks in when you know first-hand of it with your own kid and his band mates. We parents and students talk of the marching band as “the little band that could” (four years ago they were down to 35 members, but came in first place in their class at the championship parade, which then bumped a class up in subsequent years, but also increased their membership – still small and competing against much larger bands while still winning awards) and when I see the tremendous sound they had at the championships this summer – stronger than I’ve ever seen them – I have so much pride in this strength that they share together, as a single team unit; and I feel good.

The video below is one of their performances at the championships this year. The theme was “Marathon: We Got This”. As an outsider, I’m sure no one can actually figure out what is going on with this or any other band’s show that has a specific theme, but that’s okay. Just know that it is all part of the visual effect, which is part of the judging. And the band knows, which is part of what gels them together for the performances.


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2 Responses to Finding Grace – Marching Band Season

  1. Steph says:

    So glad you decided to post more about your journey! So many things resonated with me again on this one…
    First, I think part of my “missing grace” is caused by being so unexpectedly thrown by the election and subsequent events. It hit me much harder than I anticipated and I’m still trying to figure out how to accept and not dwell.
    Second, I totally feel your marching band thing. I was part of the color guard for our band in high school! We were not competitive, but we marched in the 4th of July parade and it was a lot of work to figure out and then memorize the routine. Kind of zen, though, now that I think about…focusing on the work was fun. Also, it makes me think about committing to the effort and committing to the team to get the job done.
    As always, a pleasure to read! Oh, and the band looks great! I love marching bands…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Finding Grace – Family Music Goals | It'll All Work Out

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