Out Of Comfort Zone

JHS Senior Cherishes Time With Marching Band

The Jamestown High School Red Raider Marching Band practices its show in the snow and hail. Submitted photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the final in a series by members of the Jamestown High School Red Raider Marching Band. So much work is done behind the scenes — planning, preparing, and practicing — that most people only see the finished project — the performance. JHS competes in New York State Field Band Conference shows leading up to the state championships in The Carrier Dome at Syracuse University Sunday.

Blink and it will be over — that’s how senior year feels.

It seems like just yesterday I was leaving the first marching band meeting as a new clarinet player, only wondering what was to come, yet here I am four years later preparing for my final competition not only as a part of the Jamestown High School Red Raider Marching Band but also as its senior drum major. It’s as nerve- wracking as it sounds; however, I can speak on behalf of all the seniors graduating from this organization and say that marching band doesn’t end here.

The values, memories, lessons, and work ethic that are instilled in us are things that will last us a lifetime, keeping marching band in our hearts forever.

I’ve learned perseverance.

The eight-minute show presented at football games, competitions, and community performances represents so much more than the music, marching, and choreography taught to us. It represents everything that came before it. To just get to the show, we went through the summer practices, mini camp, intensive week, and an abundance of after school practices.

We’ve had the days in the beating sun where we were all so enervated, but we had to keep pushing through. We’ve had days where the rain, or in some cases the snow, forced us to hurriedly take shelter in the gymnasium. In those scenarios, some people would have just given up. Some people would pack away their instruments calling that night’s rehearsal lost — not us. We keep pushing through.

I’ve learned from my mistakes.

Play the wrong note on my clarinet? Learn the correct one, memorize it, and keep going. Conduct the wrong tempo? Recognize it and keep pushing yourself to correct it.

I’d describe myself as a perfectionist, the type of person to get down on oneself because things don’t always go right. Marching band has taught me that no one is perfect; we all make mistakes; we are all human. It’s what we do with those mistakes that matters. We are given the choice to keep trying or give up. To be in marching band is to keep trying.

I’ve learned to step outside of my comfort zone.

Freshman me could never imagine standing on the podium in front of her peers, judges, and an audience full of people. Freshman me couldn’t imagine just walking up to someone I’ve never talked to before and starting a conversation with them.

Freshman year me could not imagine I’d ever become senior year me. I have grown to be more outgoing and less shy, and I’ve learned to always push the limits of my own comfort and experience every opportunity and every moment I possibly can.

I’ve learned to cherish every moment of everything I do because I never know when it will be the last time.

I’m finishing out this last competition season of band this week.

I’m saying goodbye to four years of learning, dedication, passion, and memories.

It’s sad.

It’s scary.

It’s a million emotions swirled into one. But most of all, it’s something that will stay with me forever.