This weekend it became official. We got our performing time slots for the competition, and I could not be happier. We play right before the awards are given out. This is the time slot that will have the largest audience possible, and is a huge honor for us to be featured at this time. Normally, it is not good to announce this, however, we are the only group in our division, so it really does not matter. It is, and I am glad about this, a chance to showcase what a youth band can be, and for all of the nations brass bands to see it. In the past, the youth bands have been positioned at times that members simply would not give up to listen to them. Either first thing in the morning, or right before dinner. Either position made it to easy to leave early or come later, therefore, the youth bands play for small audiences. It is no wonder that there are so few youth brass bands in the US. It is hard for these active brass bands to see the value in them, and to put forth the work needed to create one in their area, if they have not seen a performance by one that is already having success. I have always thought that if some people would hear us play, it might help them want to have one in their area. Not to be critical of NABBA, but they have not been so forward thinking to work on this issue.
This is OK. It is what it is. Now they are going to put a group of high school students at the center of the show, and I am psyched and honored that it is the group I have built for the past nine years. As always, I have never prepared for NABBA to win anything, rather to pull of a really good performance, something the kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Again, this year, we will be under more pressure than ever. We have to pull off the best performance ever, and do it in a very short time frame. We will not begin to rehearse this music until February 9th. We read through the tunes back in November once, but we have not worked on it since, and we will have roughly seven rehearsals to pull it together. This is HUGE for us, and I hope it can open up some eyes, and get the ball rolling forward for more youth banding in the US