By Mackenzie Thomas
On September 28th, 2013, THE Kuna Gold participated in their first competition of the season at Caldwell High School, the USSBA Regional Marching Competition. For the first time in several years, the band has finally managed to have a near-complete show on the field. As the season progresses, the band learns different parts of their show. This year, the show consists of five parts. The first four parts were complete and performance-ready in time for the show. And the fifth part is known as a “post-show” which is basically just a creative way for the band to exit the field.
Yesterday as we exited the field, the majority of the band was feeling pretty good. We had a pretty great run, and we were hopeful. We exited the field to take pictures and then we went to wait in the stands and watch the remaining bands perform. Many people from other groups complimented us and said they liked our show.
After a long day, the moment of truth came. We waited with bated breath as they announced the winners in each division. When it came to the division we were in, 4-Open, the band stood at attention and waited. We were confident that we had placed. But we weren’t sure where we ranked. They announced beginning with fourth place. As they went up, we became more and more nervous and excited. They hadn’t said our name yet. At last, they were about to announce the first place winner, “And, in first place, Kuna High School with a score of 77.625!” Many of the band members fell speechless. We had done it. We took first place in our division. We were elated. Finally, it came time to announce the final award, the US Marines Esprit de Corps. This award is given to the highest scoring band for outstanding professionalism, spirit and quality. “With a score of 77.625, this award goes to Kuna High School!” When this was announced, we were even more shocked than before, not only had we scored best in our division, but best out of the entire competition? Many astonished faces and enthusiastic hugs were shared between members.
On the win, Brandilyn Newton, a senior and member of the front ensemble, who plays synth said, “I felt proud to be a part of THE Kuna Gold Marching Band and hearing we won it was hard to hold in the excitement that we all felt!”
Ashleigh Conlin, a freshman and member of the color guard said, “At first I felt shocked, my thoughts blanked and I was just blown away. One thing came to me. ‘Kuna won?’ It shocked me so much. But then I felt pride. We have been working so hard and long on this. Though there were individual errors, we still did amazing. I was exhilarated to be a Kuna Kavemen Guard Member at that moment.”
“I felt like a giant burst of awesome took place inside my soul,” says Maximo Orr, a freshman who plays the trumpet, “Yeah, it was pretty phenomenal. Like that moment where coal becomes diamond. Strangely, I’m thankful for all that resetting.”
Junior Melissa Woods, also a member of the front ensemble said, “From being dead just two years ago to being first with the highest score in such a short amount of time is an accomplishment in itself. We now have lots of work to do.”
Teri Woods, president of The Kuna Gold Parent and Community Organization said, “Every year when the band and guard take the field in competition for the first time, I get pretty misty eyed. Last night was no exception. As I watched the score sheets roll out of the printer and I realized what had happened I was so excited. Not just for the win, but for what the win represents. Hours and hours and hours of practice. The heat, the cold, the frustrations, the endless ‘one more time’, the ‘EYES WITH PRIDE’ ritual. It is so cool to see everything come together and to see results.”
Senior Natasja Price, head drum major for THE Kuna Gold said, “We’ve worked really hard to get where we’re at, and because of that, we put on the best performance we’ve ever had at Caldwell, and I’m very proud of how well we did.”
Mr. Zeb Bellon, director of THE Kuna Gold said regarding the performance, “You are an incredible group of people and have worked incredibly hard to get to this point. We’ve talked about how good things come to those who work for them and you have exemplified that today. I’m very lucky to be in front of you all – best job in the world!”
The band has been working hard since August and it is finally paying off. We have come to realize that the seemingly endless rehearsals and critiquing from our staff and instructors, and every “reset”, and the “one more time” that is in reality, 10 repetitions, were all helping us move toward our goal. And we’ve finally achieved it. We are going to keep working hard and keep improving so we can keep our edge. This is starting out to be a great season.