Well, that went pretty great. I am chuckling this morning as I look at all of the tired faces as the kids come dragging in to the building and band room after several days on very little sleep. I, too, am struggling today; caffeine is on the way! I need to make this somewhat brief, but figured I really should send a note about game day and the trip home.
I think the first thing is that I can't stress enough how well the kids did all of the things that they were supposed to do. We only had one or two instances of lack of morning timeliness (understandable, but we corrected that situation), and only one student misplaced for a brief time after leaving the field after the morning rehearsal (she followed the wrong line for a few minutes and ended up on the wrong side of the arena for a bit). Otherwise they arrived on time, loaded and unloaded with speed and efficiency, and were overall good citizens.
Game day required another early start and also included the bonus prize of having to be checked out of rooms and all equipment loaded by 7:30 a.m. At that point we were out for the day and didn't stop til we arrived in Zeeland on Sunday morning.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and the stadium was all prepped for the game. Craig Morgan arrived after a few brief runs of the band's portion of the show, and the rest of rehearsal went without a hitch.
The color guard got to be a part of the pre-game festivities and be on the field assisting with the enormous American flag. The Arkansas marching band also performed at pre-game, and the national anthem included a flyover by a FedEx 777 jet. Lots of pageantry and excitement for the sellout crowd of over 60,000.
Lining up 1400 band students takes a fair amount of time, so at the end of the first quarter we pulled all of them and began the process. Our return home delay actually began right around that point: one of the Arkansas players was quite badly injured near the end of the second quarter. Reports were that by the end of the game he was back in the locker room with the team, but did suffer a head injury.
The halftime show itself went off without a hitch. Most students got to see the 411-member Kansas State band, the 2015 winner of the Sudler Trophy, a prize awarded to the best college marching band. The mass band took the field right after K-State, and things went according to plan. Our snare line was featured pretty prominently on the Jumbotron due to their position right behind Craig Morgan's stage, and one of our cymbal players made the national ESPN broadcast during the approximately 15-second shot that happened on live TV.
Not much else to really report besides the vast underestimation of how long it would take us to get out of town and on the highway after a game that went longer than anticipated. There was a bit of a further delay when we tried to stop for dinner - we ended up at four different locations (one of which had no working restroom facilities), but all ended up fine. It was a quiet ride home and I had one more chance to be impressed with how well these kids do things; the unloading process took about five of the planned twenty minutes.
Everyone was out the doors by 9 a.m., and after a short period of resetting the room for today's classes I managed to be home by 9:45. Great job, everyone!