Article Contributor: Marissa Grimes
8 am. We begin the long and short day by getting dressed in our uniforms. Once every year, the Rodriguez Entertainment Unit takes a photo of all the students that are participating. The first few hours of the All-Day Practice can be exhilarating and frivolous due to the many photos being taken in the 143 student long line that becomes more of a clump than an actual organized line. Buddy photos are being taken of friend groups, sections, or TV show references which will be later handed out to friends and family in wallet sized photos. For seniors, photos are taken on the RHS Horse (located at the front of the school office) in full uniform as a band tradition. For all students, buddy photos are also taken on phones and cameras to capture the aesthetic uniforms in photos to later adore on social media or lock screens.
This activity usually takes the REU to lunch at 12pm where we eat handmade sandwiches with grapes and a side of cookies. We eat, socializing with anyone we want for lunch. We talk, forgetting about the eight hours ahead of us on the field in the heat. We clean, remembering that we have 15 minutes to get down to our new dots to learn the second movement drill.
Finally, we get down to the field without instruments and phones, but our fully written dot books are around our waists and in our pockets. We begin to learn our dots as the instructors delegate our movements and sets: “How many counts is this?” “Brass, you’re in double time” “You know I’m lying, but one more time.” We power through the next three hours before dinner, learning almost all of our sets on an almost quiet football field.
After a dinner with hamburger patties cooked by the parents and a repeat of “Thank you parents!” we head down to the field. People get excited because there are about 3 hours left of the first 12 hour practice, but it’s not over yet. The hottest part of the day returns to the field at 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but the wind cools us down as we rep the new sets of the second movement. The band begins to play their newly memorized second movement with lyres and music flying over the field.
8 pm. It’s time to leave. At this point, we’ve played through the first and second movement together. No metronome, no pauses, no nothing. On our own, for the first time, two thirds of our performance is done, but not performance ready. We still have three weeks until our first competition and we’re still working hard and putting in the work throughout the week. Improving the street show, adding visual effect, and learning the third movement are our new goals for these coming weeks before our first performance at Franklin High School on October 13th. Are you ready?
Marissa Grimes is one of REU's 2018 Fall Season Drum Majors. She is a senior who is passionate about band, especially field conducting, and hopes to continue it in college. Her plans are to attend a UC campus and study music and ecohydrology - an interdisciplinary field studying the interactions between water and ecosystems. In her free time she loves to write, play with her cat, and talk with her friends.