Band Takes on Syracuse Carrier Dome: The Championship

Band Takes on Syracuse Carrier Dome: The Championship

Keith Dai, journalist

Three months of practice and hard work have been for this moment. Rising early anticipated the early morning awakening of 5 AM. Surprisingly, our band, by one way or the other, arrived at the school. We were greeted in the band room by rows of chairs, each already placed with our uniforms from the previous night, the dinkles glittering in the fluorescent light. The band kids hustled to get dressed, but it was obvious by our sluggish demeanor that no one was fully awake yet. The adults were quite the opposite; before we knew it, our instruments and props were packed and ready. The band lumbered onto the bus, the burst of briskness drained away as sleep took hold of us. Slowly, the bus pulled out of the driveway and took off towards Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.

Upon arrival, the chatter of the bus rose again. Outside, the chilly air bit at our exposed skin as we hurried to set our instruments. The presence of other buses and the band rehearsing seemed to stir something inside us as the morning’s final warm-up whirled by. Before we knew it, we were back on the bus for our once again, silent ride towards championships.

That ride, that silence, gave us time to think. Those three months of hard work were all for this moment. Our band director gave us an important speech yesterday, in which he said: “We shouldn’t let the score number or our place get in the way.” That’s a rational argument: focusing solely on the score will only drag you down and distract you from achieving your best. Think about it, in 20 minutes, we were about to enter a 220-ton dome made of Teflon-coated fiberglass, capable of holding more than 49,000 spectators, with a 360° LED display suspended directly above the center of the field, and cameramen to capture our every move. Scary, right? The silence was to relieve some of that anxiety.

The bus dropped us off by a side entrance. There, in two lines, we marched into the stadium. The nervous tension rose as each step took us closer inside the dome. Shielded from the biting wind, the volume of the dome appeared before us. Before us was a sizable number of people watching, but less than expected. There were screens on either side of the stadium, displaying the current band.

As soon as they were done, dragging their equipment as fast as possible, we came onto the field. I can’t say much for everyone else, but this time around, our performance was not only focusing on the visuals and music, but telling a story. The story of how a person, alone and lost, was able to find, re-connect, and unify with the rest of the band.

When our score, 85.25, 4th place out of 9 in small school division 2, we were elated. That score meant that whatever we did out there truly expressed our story, and the audience could see it.