Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wheaton North Marching Band Festival

Yesterday was a very long day: it was my first ever marching band festival! It took place at Wheaton North High School, in Wheaton, Illinois. Yesterday was a day to perform our marching band's halftime show (Cuban Fire) and receive critical comment and feedback from a panel of judges. The results weren't exactly what we had expected, but it was a fun day, and a learning experience overall!

So, we didn't have to be at my high school until two o'clock, so I spent the morning doing a workout tape, eating cereal and having a dance party in my room. This is what I do on the weekends; don't judge me. 

I picked up my friend Bethany and we (my sister, her, and I) drove to the school with a huge good luck from my mom as we were dropped off in the parking lot. 

When we walked in, you could tell the whole band was both really excited and super nervous. We had learned new sets (individual coordinates on the football field to make the cool patterns you see) on the practice field the pervious day and they were a little shaky and not many of us had memorized the music to those new sets and we had forgotten the last quarter of sets to the second movement of the piece. Although we fixed them that Friday, we weren't very confident we would remember the fixes and half the band would play when we weren't supposed to or move when we weren't supposed to. 

So if we remembered, the show might be a hit. If not, it was a recipe for disaster. Take your pick! 

We changed into uniform, boarded the buses, and left for Wheaton North! On the way there, I sat with my flute girls and somehow, on accident, our friend Maggie shoved herself into my friends Karen and Nancy's seats and pushed Karen to the ground! So Karen was stuck in the space between the bus seats, on the floor, and couldn't move. She screamed her head off for the rest of the trip over there. There are several videos and photos she will (apparently) use in court against us. Our section leader seemed amused. 

We pulled into the parking lot of the high school and I saw various things: about twenty other marching bands, all of varying sizes, uniforms, and instrumentation, pit percussion rehearsing in the fields next to the school, about thirty other buses parked in the parking lot, instrument trucks bearing logos from different townships, and a medium sized stadium with TURF! 

We unloaded our buses and headed to the field for the "opening ceremonies" of the festival, then walked back to our area to change into uniform and warm up. We walked to one of the nearby practice fields in a neighborhood and just warmed up in our sections and we played through the halftime show as a band. I could feel the tension, excitement, and nervousness in the air. There was so much riding on us from the directors and we really wanted to win, but we knew that it was a tradition here that our band never did. We hoped we could change that.

As we walked back to the school, there was a ton of enthusiastic praise coming from other high schools who weren't going on just yet, or had already performed. Everyone was so nice to us!  

We walked onto the field as Naperville Central High School was performing their show, "Beethoven Crüe" (a tribute mashup to Beethoven and Motley Crüe). For a visual purpose, they used folding chairs in their show, I thought it was creative, but didn't really understand the usage of the chairs. 

They finished and we headed to the back sideline, where we marched on and took the field for competition. I was so ready, but at the same time so scared! But, the drum majors started conducting, our lead snare, Drake, did the tap-off to the first movement and we just started to play. 

The first movement was GREAT! 

The second movement was good up until those sets I was talking about before. Some of us didn't hit them correctly and didn't make the formations we needed to, but we all ended in the correct charts to start the third movement. 

The third movement was a disaster zone. We weren't counting right when we had to change tempos, we missed a horn move, and our sound wasn't confident. We had just learned most of those sets the previous day, so we knew it probably wasn't a good idea to do the third part, but our directors just really wanted us to do it. It was an incomplete movement too (meaning we hadn't finished all of the charts we needed to learn to complete the show?, but I am sure by our next festival we will have it down pat. 

We marched off the field, got some closing comments from our director and the drum majors, and went back to the carts to the change into uniform. Somehow, my parents and our neighbors (whose daughter is a senior in color guard) found us and wanted to take a picture with me and my sister, which I found very nice. 

I found my friends and we went to the concession stands for an hour long wait to get food. We were STARVING!! After the wait, we ate with our band on a hill next to the stadium and watched the other bands compete. There were some that used props, cool costumes, or told a story, but the musical aspect of their performance wasn't as strong as their visual aspect. Comments were made throughout by my friends and I. 

At around nine-thrity, the awards ceremony started! We were silent and crossing our fingers while the other bands around us were disrespectful and and loud. I honestly wanted to go over there and tell them to shut up in the sassiest way possible because the awards meant a lot to my band and we really wanted to win, even though we knew we wouldn't. 

And you know what? Those bands won, while we got nothing. It was a little disappointing at first, but as we headed back home, we realized it was a learning experience for all of us and deep down, we were happy we had came! 

Cheers, and wish us luck at our final festival at University of Illinois on October 13th!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The One Direction Infection! Or, How Five British Boys Took Over My Life

So in case you can't tell, I am a HUGE fan of One Direction and I am writing this blog post tonight mainly because it is Niall's birthday. Happy birthday Nialler!!! 

Like most people, I started out absolutely HATING One Direction. I did not think they were cute and thought their music was stupid and they were the new Justin Bieber, except there were five of them. I went as far to say Harry Styles looked like my dog. That was a moment of pure heartlessness. 

Then, the catalyst to start my incurable infection was school ending. I had accomplished a busy year and my whole family was proud of me. To express this pride, they gave me an iTunes gift card as a little gift. If you know me, iTunes gift cards are like a precious resource to me, so this was an important thing to have. 

One night, about two days after school ended, my parents went out and my sister and I were home alone. She was shopping on iTunes in the office, I was surfing the Internet on the laptop in the other room when I hear the opening chords to One Direction's hit song "What Makes You Beautiful". I remember distinctly coming in and almost chucking a book at her head when she made me stop and listen to their voices matching each other and singing in unison. The she clicked on another song to listen to; it wasn't too bad! We listened to the whole album that night. 

Then we looked them up on the Internet. 

Then we looked them up on Tumblr. 

Then we saw the Youtube videos. 

Then we read their quotes. 

Then we started taking personality quizzes to decide who we would be best matched with. 

Then we started reading the fanfiction (OH BOY).  

This all took place in one night, by the way.  

By the time we had finished laughing our heads off at the video diaries, finished awwing over their inspiring stories (plucked from obscurity to be on the X Factor to worldwide fame) and learning they did have ACTUAL talent, and finished screaming over their totally, shall we say, GORGEOUS AND PERFECT AND BRITISH AND IRISH AND OH-MY-GOD-CAN-I-MARRY-YOU faces, I was in love. Offiically. And I took it all back. Every unkind word spoken, every insult to their music, every hurtful comment. Because the boys have been quoted saying that hate does affect them and it does hurt because they try really hard to please their fans (aww!).   

So in case you didn't know who's who and like One Direction (or love) and want to know more, here is the break down of the band, boy by boy! 

HARRY STYLES aka Hazza, H, or Haz. 

 My sister's favorite, the one who is hot and dangerous! The youngest of the band members, he is known as one of the main heartthrobs because of his charm, his brown curly locks, and gorgeous green eyes. He is known to be a player and likes older women! He has a strong voice that perfectly matches the rest of the group and sings solos often. His personal style is very prepster with bow ties and blazers. Birthday is February 1st, 1994, has one older sister named Gemma and has (I think) five tattoos with personal meaning!
Just some pictures of Harry:  




LIAM PAYNE aka Daddy Directioner   

The smart and sensitive one of the group! He has classic good looks (brown hair, brown eyes, nice skin) and is as cute as a puppy! He is just plain adorable and loves looking out for the boys. He auditioned for the X Factor when he was 14, but came back when he was 16 and made it through! His voice is arguably the best in the group because of his tone quality and maturity. His personal style is classic, with plaid shirts and Converse.  Birthday is August 29th, 1993, his favorite movie is Toy Story, he has a fear of spoons, and has been together with his dancer girlfriend, Danielle Peazer, since he was on X Factor  
Pics of Liam: 



LOUIS TOMLINSON aka Boo Bear, the Tommo, Lou Lou, Queen Louis 

The sweet and sassy boy! He is the oldest and my second favorite in the group. His adorable face, playful smile, and personal style (Stripes and TOMS!!!!) would draw any girl in. He is known to be the sassiest one of the group (need proof? Go read any interview or watch any video with him) and the band's prankster. His voice is great for someone of his age; he can go really high, but not sound whiny! Birthday is Christmas Eve of 1991, he has five sisters, and has been with his university student girlfriend, Eleanor Calder, since Harry introduced them. His inspiration to try out for the X Factor was when he played Danny Zuko in his school's production of Grease!
Pics of Louis: 



NIALL HORAN aka Baby Nandos, Nialler, the special snowflake 
OK, so this boy is the cute and Irish one!!! He is also perfect in every way possible. His blond hair (it is naturally brown. i like it better brown), gorgeous see-to-your-soul eyes, and perfect smile will steal any girl's heart! He is my favorite, so watch out! His voice is beautiful, so clear and a perfect range and UGH too many emotions talking about him. His known as the one who has no flaws in the group and the baby because the boys all like to protect him. His personal style of form-fitting polos, bro tanks, snapbacks, and wayfarers make him look AMAZING. IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE. Birthday is September 13th, 1993, he has one brother, he plays the guitar, and is constantly hungry!! 
Pictures of Niall:    




Yeah, that is Zayn behind him. Awk. 


ZAYN MALIK aka Vain Zayn, DJ Malik, The Poser 

The quiet and mysterious boy! I once compared Zayn to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights because both are from Yorkshire and quiet and mysterious! His soulful eyes, exotic looks, and bad boy appeal just scream COME GET ME! Not really, but you get it, in a non-stalkerish way. His voice is soulful and you can also hear him as the cool backups on the songs they sing. His style of monogrammed letterman jackets, quiffed hair, and tattoos just say bad boy, but he is the good little one! Birthday is January 12th, 1993, has eight tattoos (and counting!), is very protective of Niall, loves Bruno Mars, and has been with his girlfriend, Perrie Edwards of girl band Little Mix, since he confirmed it in May, 2012. But we all know its been longer than that! 
Pictures of Zayn: 




So, if you take thing one thing away from this blog post, it is that I have no life. JK, but really, these boys have taken over! Again, just kidding. I am just a dedicated fan who loves their music, the fact they are themselves, and the love they give to their fans everyday. So I hope to see you ordering Take Me Home on November 13th, 2012 when it is released and dressing up as 1D for Halloween! 

Peace out, and TANKS!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September in Overview

So, it is September 1st. The ninth month out of twelve in the year. The start of fall, school, and colder weather! I can already tell you, I don't know about you, but my September is going to be super busy! Here's my month, start to finish, just to give you a heads-up:

September 2nd: My mom's birthday! Happy birthday Mommy :)

September 3rd: I march with my band in my town's Labor Day Parade!! Hooray. Not really, I hate parade marching. Plus, it is going to be hot on Monday and there is a chance of thunderstorms. Just the perfect conditions for a marching band.

September 4th-30th: Marching band practice, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2:45-5:15. When did I sign up for this again?  

Tuesdays throughout September: Voice lessons

Wednesdays throughout September: Flute lessons and newly added, Chamber Singers! That's right, my sister and I completed a successful, highly competitive audition to get into one of three extracurricular vocal ensembles at our school. It opens up a whole new door of opportunities and we are psyched!!!  

September 7th: My friend Linsey turns sixteen! Happy birthday!!

September 9th-11th: Birthday week! These three days, my friends Sam, Sandhya, and Bhavya will turn sixteen, sixteen, and fifteen. There will be many presents to go around.

September 15th: The first marching band festival of the season! We will be competing at a local high school with many other marching bands to place. I am very excited, since it is our first festival of the season and my first marching band festival EVER!

September 17th-22nd: Homecoming Week!!!! There will be several different theme days, the coronation and bonfire, and the homecoming football game.

September 22nd: The actual homecoming dance! I just got my dress today :). I am going with a group of my friends, but we have yet to decide whose house we will eat and take pictures at and have the after party at. And its three weeks from today! And three weeks goes by fast.  We really need to start planning.  

September 29th: The second of two marching band festivals this month. Its yet to be determined, but we think it will be at a local university since we don't like to travel far. So much for us having a renowned marching band heard about far and wide

Now let's throw in eating, sleeping, and doing homework and trying to have what you would call a social life. So far, I see three of these things as options.

So wish me luck this month! And I hope you all have a happy September.