Showcasing their talent

Published 11:11 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

My best friend and I waited with bated breath in anticipation of the announcement of the winner of the biggest band competition of my rookie year.

My friend and I were both trumpet players and had been hazed as rookies in the usual process of drills, sectionals, band camp, Alabama heat and practice. This competition was the culmination of an entire year of band work, sweat and training.

The judges called out the scores for our different sections one by one and we clapped as each “score” was called. Finally, the whole band held each other’s hands as we waited for the final calling of the best in class band.

I was showered in screams from my fellow band mates and my friend and I jumped up and down hugging each other in excitement after we heard the Pride of Shelby County called. It was the greatest joy in my entire time in marching band.

Seven bands from across schools across the county, including my alma mater, Shelby County High School, recently demonstrated their skills during the annual Shelby County Showcase of the Bands—a milestone moment of the year as students not only perform for friends and family but also receive feedback from judges so that they can better perfect their shows for that upcoming competition.

I had the privilege of attending this year’s showcase, one I used to attend every year in band. I took photographs in between shows, and as I sat with one band, I noticed something. While most of the crowd watched each show, I watched the students. I noticed the students watching the performances and I noticed them judging and cheering on their fellow bandmates in other schools.

Despite coming from different backgrounds and differently-sized schools, there was an inherent level of respect as they understood the amount of effort other bands put into their shows—an amount of effort that mirrored their own.

Each year, marching bands meet for hours each summer to memorize their musical parts and to practice the marching drill. Not only do they have to recall the music from memory but also their positions on the field—all while marching in-time with the beat.

Marching band is a rigorous extracurricular activity that demands a lot of time as well as money. The victory is only sweet after all those hot days in the sun practicing alongside friends.