I’m going to try my best to not turn this post into a big sentimental, sappy piece talking about achievement, but it’s been a good weekend so no promises. This weekend has been one that I’ve actually been working towards for a long time.
The smaller thing that happened was the first round of regionals for girls’ high school tennis. I mentioned a little before that I’m also involved in my school’s tennis team. I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t take tennis as seriously, but only because I haven’t had the chance to. For the last I don’t know how many years my priority sport has always been swimming. Tennis has always been a sport that I played, but never reached for my best ability. Anyway, I had regionals this weekend, and this season for tennis hasn’t really been the most successful. I don’t take private lessons and I didn’t practice enough before and during the season. We were playing North Scott High School, which I had actually never heard of before so I had no idea what I was in for. When the meet started I noticed right away that the girl that I was playing was definitely at my level or lower. We started quickly and things were going great. I’ve learned to be self-conscious when playing so that I don’t get over excited and mess it up for myself. I won my match and a majority of the girls on my team did as well, and it was a much needed win.
The much bigger thing that happened this weekend was IBA. IBA stands for Iowa Bandmaster’s Association. Each year, IBA holds a two day long festival/convention to feature bands, and as a meet-up for band directors across the state. I was first introduced to this IBA convention when I was an 8th grader. I was selected to be in the 8th grade honor band. Being selected for that honor band was really the beginning to me becoming an established musician. This year I was selected to play in another honor band, however this year it was a much bigger deal. This year Kennedy High School’s Wind Symphony was the 4a honor band. Obviously many of you don’t understand what exactly that means, but, it’s sorta the biggest honor a high school band can receive. The process to getting there was very extensive. My director already had plans on trying out for the spot. Once marching band season was over, we started with our intense practice of learning the music and getting it recorded. The beginning process all occurred between October to January. It was a little after winter break when we had received the results. I’m actually ashamed to say this, but I honestly didn’t think that our band had a chance to qualify. When our director, Mr. Wacker, finally announced the news we were all over the moon. The euphoria only lasted for a minute though, being selected as the honor band meant that our group would need to prepare a exceptional, forty-five minute concert. It also meant that our hard work had just begun. We were selected towards the end of January and our concert was May 15th. During that time we received a number of new pieces, and had many extra rehearsals. As the weather got warmer and schedules got busier, the feeling that IBA was just a chore continued to grow. The numbers of days left started to dwindle and I don’t know about everyone else, but I was getting pretty nervous for the concert. At the time I didn’t feel that we weren’t prepared, most of my nervousness came from the pressure that came with playing multiple solos. On the day of the concert we had to go to school for half of the day. It was the last day of AP testing so nothing actually got done in class. Our whole group left around noon and our concert wasn’t until 5pm, so there was plenty of time to relax. When we arrived in Des Moines, the nerves hadn’t kicked in, but as we continued and it go closer and closer to warm-up I could feel myself getting nervous. My big solos were in the second song, so during the first song I was focused on playing it correctly and getting into the right mindset needed to really play well. The second song, Redacted by John Mackey, is a different piece which features many unique solos. My solo starts off the piece. When I was playing I was very aware of all the things that I had worked on throughout those four months. I tried to remember all the notes that different directors and clinicians had told me. I remembered to really try to be expressive and take my time with all the notes. As I was playing I couldn’t really hear myself over my own thoughts, but I thought it probably sounded ok. The concert continued and I have to admit that we sounded really great. At the end of the concert I was so proud of our little group and all that we accomplished.