Jun 27

A Humble View from a Volunteer

The 728 Marching Cadets, a young organization just finding their stride, has pulled off an amazing win during yesterday’s competition in Alexandria.  This event, billed to the parents as “State Competition” is a whirl of bands, flags, music, drumline, etc., etc., and it goes for hours.

But, let’s start at the beginning of the weekend…

We loaded the buses for St. Cloud early on Saturday morning and started off on what we all considered to be our most challenging string of parades for this season.  Going through the normal routine, the band, color guard, drumline and honor guard got ready to ‘hit the street’.  As we moved through our performances, again I heard many positive comments, and was even stopped at one point by a lovely gentleman who was a part of St. Cloud’s All City Band, “back in the day”.  He was full of praise for our kids and really enjoyed the show.  I walked away thinking that this man is the type of person we definitely want to touch as our band performs.

Once finished, it was back on the buses and down to Rogers, a home parade.  Again, moving through the crowds as the kids performed, it was a source of pride for me as I was watching people literally coming out of their houses as the band performed.  I really enjoy this particular show “Alice”, I never get tired of watching.  My most favorite part is when the band moves into the “Company Line” near the end of the performance — it’s stunning.  So, the home crowd really appreciated the show — but we were not done yet.

On to Alexandria for a few hours of relaxation and pool time for the kids, early bedtime and early breakfast call on Sunday morning.  If you have never watched 79 kids shuffle down, hardly awake, to gather up some food, it’s quite a sight to behold.  Soon enough, on to the parade staging site… time to put ‘game faces’ on.

We were scheduled #18 of 19 bands to perform.  The Directors used this time to warm up the band and units, really setting the mood and the tempo for the day’s performance. Like a well oiled machine, the musicians and performers went through their drills with precision and efficiency.  All too soon, we boarded the buses and headed off to parade lineup.  (Yes, my heart was pounding the closer we got.)

One full run through at lineup, about 2 blocks down and one left turn later, and we could see the judges – the ‘red shirts’.  Once the band had moved into position, I think I stopped breathing.  While it wasn’t a ‘perfect’ performance… I was in tears once the last note was played.  Stunning — Amazing — Inspiring… I can’t come up with the right word to describe it; maybe ‘Breathless’, because I was.  There comes a point when you decide; these kids all earned their title of “Cadet”; they were challenged to “bring it” and they did.  As a parent, a volunteer, a fan… I was bowled over.

Most of you know the rest… but let me share this.  The kids took the day in their class and walked away 4A Champions.  But I got to share something else…  A group of dedicated individuals who like to stay back almost into the crowd.  This group works long hours, using their creativity and the amazing bond they share, to propel this program to where it stands today.  Ask them and they will tell you that all the glory goes to the Cadets, not them.  True enough, but I will still thank, from the bottom of my heart: Tom, Mike, Dave, Sarah, John, Steve, Morgan, April, Morgan, Tyler, and Chris.  I will also thank the legion of volunteers who work behind the scenes in whatever way is needed.

Today, I think we all shared that emotional pride as we watched “our” kids take their place in the championship circle.  I am proud to be a “Cadet” parent; I am proud to be associated with the director team; and I am proud to know and work with the parents who support the organization.