Monday, November 16, 2009

Trip to Indy 2009


Wednesday night, November 12, the band left on a bus to Indianapolis for the Grand Nationals Competition. My plane left on Thursday afternoon at 4:00 pm. It was a really good trip on my part and I think Ben's bus ride was a success since he doesn't sleep well on moving vehicles. He managed to get a good amount of sleep. My dad came to pick me up at my apartment at 2:00 and we headed to the airport. My flight had no layovers, so that made me happy. I got to Indianapolis at about 7:15, took the bus into the city and checked in at the hotel. After I got settled, I went to the Embassy Suites where the band was playing and waited for them to get there.

They were scheduled to arrive at 7:30 but were about an hour late. As the kids were coming in the door with their instrument, uniform, shako box, luggage and pillow and blanket, parents were standing at the ready to hand them a bottle of water and a boxed lunch. Then up to their rooms they headed. The elevators became clogged very quickly as we had kids on several floors. Luckily, they were given their room assignments way ahead of time and knew where they were going. They had to eat and get to a meeting on the 2nd floor of the hotel by like 10:00 pm. They performed the next morning at 9:15, but needed to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and be ready to go warm up by like 6:30. I got talked into getting up at 5:00 am to go help braid hair for the girls who wanted that. It was worth it. My daughter never lets me mess with her hair...

The preliminary performance was almost perfect from everything I saw. I did see one girl drop a sword and heard that another girl dropped a flag, lines weren't good, that sort of thing, but I knew we would make it to semi-finals...and that we did. After the morning performance, the kids pretty much had the rest of the afternoon to do whatever they wanted. I met Ben and his friend at the hotel where we went over to the mall and got Ben some jeans. Then I let them go off on their own and went back to the hotel to take a nap. So - when you put the do not disturb sign on your door, it usually means, do not disturb. At the hotel where I was that shall remain nameless, it means call the room and wake the guest up to make FOR SURE they don't want service. I will be addressing this with the GM after I tell him what a wonderful staff he has. Everyone was very accommodating.

The semi-finals performance was much better, until they had to get off the field. One of the speakers fell over, got the handle lodged in the turf and caused us to be on the field too long. That was definitely going to cost us somep points. I was very nervous going into awards. I wasn't at all sure what was going to happen. As it turned out, we didn't get any outstanding awards, but we did get 2nd in Class AAAA and a place in the finals performance. That is all that mattered - that we got to perform in finals. There was about an hour between when they announce semi results and when the stadium opens back up for finals. I went outside with my friends and said I needed to get a finals ticket and this lady standing next to me handed me a ticket that was just given to her. She just gave it to me so I didn't have to buy a ticket in for that night. What a blessing!


We performed earlier in the finals run of the top 12 bands. At 8:45 the band took the field and had an amazing performance. We were all very excited for the outcome of this competition. It was a long night for me because I had seen some of these shows SO many times, I was just over it. I wanted to get onto the awards and see my son again. My very favorite part of the Grand Nationals is the amazing production of the finals bands taking the field. It's all lights and glamor and I can only imagine how the kids feel down on the field.

LD Bell Band was awarded Outstanding General Effect and 2nd place in the Grand Nationals Championship. I know some kids were disappointed, but Benjamin was so very excited to just have beat a certain other band who shall remain nameless...as was I.

After that, a lot of the parents went to the hotel to wait for the kids to get there. We ended up waiting outside where the busses drop them off because it was one o'clock in the morning and there were guests sleeping. The faces of the kids varied, but I am pretty sure it was mostly from exhaustion and just trying so hard and doing their very best. All in all, it was a great trip and I hope I don't have to go back next year. Four years in a row is getting to be a bit much. Let's go somewhere else!

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