The time is 9:20. Band members are expected to be up on the practice field with their instruments in ten minutes. Most members are already up and practicing there marching. Color Guard members are working through more difficult parts in their performance. In a matter of minutes, a trailer, dragged by a John Deere Gator, is brought up to the field carrying keyboards drums, and other various percussion instruments played by the standing percussion or “Pit.” The marching percussionist, or “battery” walk single file to their position at the back of the field, setting their drums side by side.
After a quick session of stretching, each section begins performing separate warm ups, preparing them for a day of playing.
After a few minutes, Band Director Jeff Moorman instructs the band to begin rehearsing the show. In front of the band Stands Stephen Merriot, Senior and Drum Major of the knight pride marching band. His job along with his fellow Drum Major Emma Pursley, is to control the speed and volume of the band. That would be his job for the next thirteen hours that day. It was something he enjoyed.
“The practice and the dedication really pays off in the end” Merriott said.
Merriott signals for the band to begin their practice.
The band plays through a few sections before taking a quick water break. It was time for the first full run through of the day. Each run ending with a quick critique by the sections instuctors.
Over an hour passes, While band members continue practicing, The bands trucks, “Beauty” and “Beast” are brought up to be loaded.
Instruments begin to be packed away to be brought to the competition. The percussion stays behind to run through a quick session before loading their equipment on to the beast.
Back at the school, volunteer parents serve a lunch of roast beef sandwiches. Groups gather in the band room to eat. Many are laughing and joking, however the Color Guard must hury and prepare their hair makeup, and uniform before getting on the bus.
The Pit now has everything loaded on board and rushes down to eat before having to board Bus two and leave for lafayette high school.
A quick role call on each bus to have everyone accounted for before beginning their journey to lafayette. Few focused on the performance on the ride. Some listened to Mp3s, others played on various handheld games. One senior brought a laptop to type up a school assignment.
By the time the buses arrived, There wasn’t enough time for much more than a bathroom break before preperation. Band members are told to have their uniform ready by 1:00. Volunteers and students alike scrambled to collect instruments.
A Lafayette band student leads the Knightpride band to a section of grass surrounded by yellow caution tape. Near the front is a sign.
WARM-UP AREA #2 PLEASE FACE AWAY FROM STADIUM
Each section stretches and warms up again before finally grouping together to practice a few quick sections. The guard continues practices on a nearby strip, separate from the rest of the band.
When the time comes the band gets in full uniform to begin their march to the stadium.
“It feels pretty cool,” Freshmen Andrew Witte said. “Wearing the uniform makes me feel like I am totally in control.”
The band passes through the Archway of Lafayette stadium and approaches the field. After a short wait the bands gets into position. An intercom welcomes them to the field, and their first performance of the day begins. There opening recording plays queuing in the band.
“Every journey begins with a single step”
Knight pride earns first place and every category award in the AA division for preliminaries, placing them in the fourth spot in the finals with a score of nearly seventy-five. They are just decimal points away from third. A few fixed mistakes and they could move up to a top three spot in finals.
There was a few hours to burn before the bands next performance. Now out of uniform, Students sat in line to be served pizza by volunteer parents. After their meal, games of cards and circles of talking friends began to form outside and inside the buses.
It was dark by the time the band was lead to practice area #1. The colder weather made playing more difficult. Talking stopped by the time warm-ups began. The Pit and Battery ended up practicing in the parking lot, not wanting to maneuver around the various buses and trailer. The Color Guard takes back their plot to continue practicing.
The band gets in formation, marching single file followed by Pit instruments being pushed from behind. A short wait before being greeted onto the field. A high platform is set for Stephen Merriot to be seen from the back of the field. A voice comes over the intercom.
“Drum Major, is your band ready.”
Merriott gives the audience a quick salute in reply.
“Knightpride you may take the field for competition.”
The bands final score was 79.1. a four point jump from where they started.
It was enough to keep them in fourth. excitement quickly died down after the bands name was announced. The winner was the AAA leader, Fort Zumwalt North.
Several members of the band could not contain their disappointment. However Director Jeff Moorman was not one of them.
“If they can improve that much from (Preliminaries) to finals, They are going to be unstoppable” Moorman said.
For many, tomorrow would be dedicated to the completion of homework. monday was an after school practice, and saturday was another competition. There would be another week to improve until then.