This weekend found Evan in Indianapolis, IN at the final band competition of the season.  This one was the “Bands of America” Grand National Championship.  Their website is a “.org” so the whole “Bands of America” title must be self-appointed.  No matter; all the bands believe it’s the competition to go to and that’s all that matters.  The marketing was done decades ago.  But anyway…

This was their superbowl.  The Pride has been going to this for many years and has never made it past seventh place.  Some years (like last year) they didn’t even make it into the finals even after stomping all the local competitions.  But Saturday, night they were ON. They gave the performance of their lives apparently (although I was not there to see it); so close to perfection that their director was in tears and it was the performance that counted.

They won first place.

A large number of parents went to this event and the stories they tell are of people shouting themselves hoarse and many tears being shed.  Evan says it was pretty awesome and the director even threw them the bone of not enforcing the bedtime Saturday night.

All the local media were informed but I didn’t see any of them when the busses rolled in last night at 8:30pm.   The busses were met at the edge of town by the local police who escorted them in with lights and sirens. Several fire trucks were there in the parking lot – also flashing and whooping.  I couldn’t hear them due to the honking of car horns by those of us waiting on them to show up.  There is another concert band that doesn’t march and these kids had shown up in full uniform to play the fight song as the busses rolled in.  Again, they couldn’t be heard over the cacaphony of honking car horns.  On any other night, they would have come home to silence but when you come home as #1, you get quite a welcome.

I heard later than channel 6 had a crew there and they got some video of the trophy.  It was one of those trophies like the superbowl one or the Indy 500 one; you keep it for a year, get your name on a little placque added to it, and you give it back to the next winner.  It even came in its own shipping case.  Every kid wanted their photo made next to it.  Except Evan, but he’s like that.  It was quite a melee for about an hour as all the kids whooped and hugged.  Quite a number of alums had showed up to congratulate the band – they had all been to the same contest before and knew how tough it was to win.

Some years ago, a documentary film was made about The Pride and it followed them to this contest; that was the year they made seventh place.  Too bad they weren’t around to document this.

I almost felt like everyone should go invade a restaurant and have a party into the night but we settled for stopping at Braum’s for hot chocolate and let Evan describe the weekend in his usual taciturn way.  I was sorry for it to end.  Not many people have the chance to do something where they can call themselves “number one” at the end and I wanted them all to have the chance to roll in it for as long as possible.   But we went home and that was that.

But maybe not.  There’s school today where I’m sure they will get some more notariety. Then I’m sure there will be at least one more thing at some point – Oklahoma magazine for example or something like that.  There’ll be no living with them after this.