I absolutely have no rhythm whatsoever. Zip. Zero. Nada. None. I was probably the only kid in the high school band who had problems marching and playing an instrument at the same time. I was — and still am — so incredibly uncoordinated. I was beyond overjoyed when my parents signed off on no more band or choir classes. I love music, and I love to dance (not well), but I have absolutely no musical talent except for playing a dumb down version of Fur Elise and Heart and Soul.


My sister and her husband played in a marching band in college, and they are both thrilled their oldest kid, Ethan, is following in their marching band steps. I absolutely love and adore watching my oldest nephew perform with his school’s marching band. I could care less that I’m watching a high school marching band because anyone who can march, remember routines, AND play an instrument all at once is a genius in my mind.


Anyway, when my sister mentioned Ethan would compete in a marching band competition, I was so thrilled and excited. I couldn’t wait to watch a ton of marching bands from the terrible bleacher seats that would irritate my tailbone (in hindsight, I really should’ve brought a blanket or two). And I wanted to gauge my other nieces and nephew’s reactions to the event — would they be inspired to play instrument and join a marching band? Do we have a musical prodigy in the family?


The weekend was a fun family affair as Becky and her kids trekked down to Des Moines for the competition. Charlie and I bummed around the city in the afternoon and found a fabulous barbecue place for a late lunch. Mmmmmmm. Burnt ends. Brisket. Ribs. Pulled pork. So yummy. The kids were a little bummed they couldn’t play in the hotel pool the day of the competition, but they woke up early the next day to enjoy the chlorinated water.


Quick note: This is the start of my nephew’s marching band performance. The competition ran throughout the day, but Ethan wasn’t schedule to perform until the evening. We arrived about an hour before the big performance, settled in with blankets, food, and hot chocolate, and watched other schools’ marching bands. I won’t lie — some bands were fantastic and some needed more practice.


Again, I have a great admiration for marching band members that give everything they have for a great performance, but I wasn’t crazy about two things: a ton of props and a dance storyline. Some of the schools displayed background scenes representing certain cities or places. During one band’s performance, the scenic backgrounds weren’t distracting but the music and the colorguard pretty much revealed the theme (desert, exotic, etc.). In my opinion, the scenes weren’t necessary.


What was a little distracting was dancers telling a story during at least half a dozen performances. During one band’s show, Charlie didn’t even notice the two main dancers until the very end when the marching band members pointed in their direction. I have nothing against dancers attempting to tell a story, but they didn’t enhance the band’s performance. Truth to be told, the dancers were a little distracting.


Despite the bleachers hurting my tailbone and the stadium becoming a little crowded toward the end of the night, I had a great time watching so many great marching bands for a little over two hours.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott, Picture Posts

2 replies »

  1. I wanted to play the violin but didn’t want to put in the time to practice. I just wanted to be a musical prodigy that just felt the music hum through my body and mind. Nope. Gibberish.

  2. I’m so glad our parents never made us take band or choir in school. I would’ve hated every second of it. But I love watching marching bands too. Pretty talented kids.

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