"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Monday, September 12, 2016

47 Days: The South Coast Classic

Every time I write this blog with the countdown number in the title, I'm reminded that something pretty special is coming up about a month before our trip. This year will be the inaugural South Coast Classic high school marching band competition held at John's school, South Brunswick High.

The idea for doing this sort of grew out of the group of band parent friends we sit with at home football games and travel with to band competitions at other schools. I can't tell you for certain, but it was most probably first voiced by Elie Erickson, who has turned what was a few parents sometimes meeting for lunch before a competition into a rather large "Spirit Squad." Elie is......enthusiastic. And she's fun and smart and most of all a doer of things rather than just a sayer of things. This thing has gone from the "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if...." phase to the "oh sh**, it's happening in three weeks!" phase in less than a year.

A band competition, if you are unfamiliar, basically consists of marching bands putting on their halftime shows and being judged on every aspect from music to marching to colorguard to percussion to my personal favorite "General Effect." The schools are organized according to number of students in the band so they can compete on a somewhat equal footing. I've seen bands of close to 100 students and one that consisted of just six (who, by the way, put on an amazing rendition of songs from the American Soul Music canon).

The young musicians work incredibly hard on these shows, putting in easily as many hours as the football players for who's halftimes they perform. Ours attend band camps twice during the summer and practice at least twice after school each week. They memorize music and drill (the exactly choreographed movements on the field) until they can move with all the harmony with which they play the music. It's been an eye-opening experience watching John become a part of this. He works his tail off and the work shows on the field. What better lesson for a high school student, really? I couldn't be prouder of him or his entire band family.

The family aspect has been a huge blessing to Lisa and I as well. We have a crew in the stands. Heck, Elie even brought me a cow bell festooned with school color ribbons and a big "S" for South. I keep it in my car, I say just in case I need it, but really as a reminder of the kind of unsolicited kindness one sees from true friends. Our Spirit Squad has grown, too. As more parents see (and hear, did I mention the cow bell) us cheering on the band, those of our ilk come and join us and they stay week after week. We sing and yell and make a racket. We embarrass the children by hollering out their names from high atop the bleachers. It's Pro-Level Parenting, I tell ya, and we love it.

With the date, Saturday, October 1, fast approaching, we could use all the help and support the community can offer. We are looking for trophy sponsors, volunteers and attendees. If you can help with a few bucks, with a few hours or simply with a prayer or two, I'd be truly grateful. We'll have need of ticket takers, car parkers, concession sellers and bleacher fillers. You'll have a great day, I promise. If you think you can help, or want to simply keep up with our goings on, you can go "Like" our South Coast Classic Facebook page. If you think you can help with a sponsorship, drop me an email at jgstites@yahoo.com. If you'd just like to come out and see these amazing musicians do their thing, just roll on up to the Southport High School football stadium by 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 1 and buy yourself a ticket.

I'll see you there!!!

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