As I sit here this morning and think about what’s on the agenda for today, one thing stands out above all the others. Today is most likely my last marching band practice for high school if the football season ends tomorrow night. I’ve spent the past few weeks dreading this very week and weekend, not because I don’t want to practice or compete in our state competition, but because I know it means the end of a chapter that I wish would continue on longer.

I joined band back in fifth grade, and in seventh grade, I had the opportunity to try out and join marching band. It took me four years to finally agree to trying out, and in my ninth grade year, I joined. I was fearful of doing something new, and I had never been apart of something so extensive and tedious. I fell in love with marching, and even though at times I wanted to give up, things just came naturally for me when it came to marching and playing my clarinet at the same time.

Tenth grade came, and I had a love-hate relationship with band. I was going through medical issues with what we now know is Crohn’s Disease, and even though I still tried to enjoy marching band as much as I could, I began to grow tired of it already after a year of doing it. Granted, a part of that was due to the fact of me being sick and trying to figure out what was going on with me medically.

My junior year, I quit band for a semester, and because of that, I was not able to march. It gave me time to really contemplate on what I was going to do to finish out my last year of high school, and I knew I didn’t want to graduate without being in band again. The second semester of last year, I rejoined band, and I am so thankful that I did.

This year, my senior year, has probably been the best year I have ever had in band. I took on the challenge of joining percussion in order to play the mallets, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I went into this season not knowing who I was going to talk to or hang around since some of my friends left last year, but God has provided me with a group of friends that I hope to stay in touch with for as long as He allows. They have encouraged me, comforted me, and have kept me laughing on my hardest days.

I am trying not to cry while typing this, but it has been very hard to not let the tears build up in my eyes. Band is family, and I am thankful to call my classmates my brothers and sisters. We work together even in our differences, and at the end of the day, we have created a beautiful show that I will never forget. Marching band has taught me to cherish each and every moment I have in school and outside of school, and it has also taught me discipline and so much more. It’s where I have created most of my friendships that I know will last a life time. It’s the one thing that stands out all of my high school years, and when I look back 10, 20, and 50 years from now, it will still hold a huge place in my heart.

For my fellow marching band members, don’t give up. Even on the hottest days in August or the coldest days ( when we have them since we live in Florida ) in November, don’t give in to slacking off. Stay strong, stay positive, lift each other up, and go play and march to the best of your abilities to glorify God. Band is probably the toughest program that anybody could take part in, but it is the best program because of the bond that we create with one another. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the Conquerors Marching Band in the future, but for right now, let’s give this last practice our all. On Saturday, let’s perform our best show yet. We can do it, and I believe in each and every one of you. Thank you for making my three years of marching band a memorable one. Love you guys!

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