Sacrifice and Success

Becca Stewart

The final note rang out in the Alamodome in San Antonio on Nov. 3 concluding an explosive marching show and the end of another rigorous season of work. It was a bittersweet ending for many students, but it left them with the freedom of the end of the season.

           As the Cedar Park High School Marching Band wraps up another successful competitive season, many students in band are glad to get most of their time back, even if they don’t have anything to do with this time. This transition from marching band to concert band season is a highly anticipated time of the year for many students – a time to slow down and relax – but to others this can create a detrimental lack of structure and productivity.

           “As soon as the students don’t have all of their time structured for them, that’s usually when they don’t do as good a job with their grades,” Symphonic Band teacher Bob Chreste said.

           From a teacher’s perspective, the students seem to perform better academically during the much more structured marching season, when there is less time to spare and more work to be done than in the less intensive concert season.

“That’s usually when they start getting in trouble at home because everything isn’t so structured for them,” Chreste said. “It’s structured and so well thought out that it’s actually easy because all you have to do is do what you’re told. You don’t have to think a whole lot.”

           However, when left to their own devices, some students are still able to be productive. It just takes a little more of their own discipline.

           “It’s kind of hard,” sophomore clarinet player Sarah Orth said. “I don’t get much sleep, I come into school early and I stay up late.”

           Balancing school work can become difficult when students try to juggle commitments they have outside of school with band. From school to band practice to homework and extracurricular activities, some students are having trouble trying to find time to breathe.

           “I don’t like how sometimes the directors don’t realize you have other commitments,” Orth said. “But I like being busy.”

           These other commitments also contribute to a larger work load and later bed times. Students give up even more time than the 32 hours a week they dedicate to band for practices, in-class rehearsals, football games and competitions.         

“During marching band, I stay up later than usual,” freshman saxophone player Travis Schwartz said. “I only have time for homework.”

           During this season, the students and teachers alike sacrifice a lot of their time and invest it into the band program. Despite a possibly overwhelming schedule, the commitment the students give seems to pay off in the end. At numerous competitions this year, the band swept their AAA division, achieved the title of Class Champion, and advanced to perform in finals. Their dedication also led them to become State Champions in 2011.

           “If our time commitment was less, we would’ve been less successful,” Schwartz said. “It’s worth it.  I think we all felt we had done our best and it didn’t matter if we had won or lost in the end.”