Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School: Round 14: THE FINAL ROUND

That's right.
Last week, I started my 14th and final year of school.
Hello, Senior Year.

Story time? Duh!

My parents, my grandma and I have a tradition which involves us going to breakfast at Bob Evan's every year on the first day of school. We've been doing it since first grade kindergarten  I was very small.

Grandma and me!

This is Sara. She's been our waitress every year since we started.
And she happens to have an awesome name ;)
Me and Madre!!

The first day of school is only a half day, so it was pretty laid back. But the second day, us seniors left for Senior Retreat! (AKA Two days for us to come together as a class and establish that we're going to lead the school this year. (AKA Senior bonding time))

It was a lot of fun, and my mother (one of the chaperones who went with us) took many pictures, so here we go!!


Niiki and I found a see-saw.
Funness ensued.

That one game where you have to untangle yourselves.
The fabulous purple team successfully created two interlocking circles.


Kirsten and myself the next morning.
The next morning (Friday morning), we split up into groups to do a ropes course.

Moving together

Getting our strategy on
There was also a game room that we all enjoyed. Nikki and I found ourselves engaged in an epic game of extreme ping pong.
Miss Aucremann and Nikki intensely playing checkers.

Jen, Kirsten, Me, Nikki, and Cara
AKA The female officers of the Royal Ambassador Marching Band. :)

Class of 2014

Our theme for the retreat (and for the year) was We Are.
We are servants.
We are leaders.
We are forgiven.
We are loved.
We are Seniors.
The Class of 2014 has arrived.
School is officially back in session.
Until next time!!
You get a little me and a big me!!
First day of school, 2002 and 2013.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Special Events.. BAND CAMP EDITION!! (Water, Prank, and Seniority!)

So a few days ago, I posted about a typical day at band camp.

However, I left out the not-so-typical stuff. AKA the Special Events.

We have two main special events at band camp. The first is the "top-secret" water ballon attack. At least it's supposed to be a secret... somehow the newbies always know about it...

There's always some cover story. Last year it was learning to march for a parade (we knew something was up there because we never do parades). This year, we were told that one of our instructors (who has been working with Legends Drum Corps this summer) wanted to teach us a new marching exercise. However, in order to teach it to us, we would have to transfer from our new practice field to the one we usually use on the other side of the camp.

On the way to the attack...
OF COURSE, the parents were waiting along the path with buckets of water ballons and sponges. As is tradition, we were ambushed, and the water balloon fight began.

Me battling with my battle tiara!
I also somehow end up getting a bucket of water dumped on my head every year.
Happened twice this year. Once from my dad, the other from my co-drum major.
Thanks guys.
The other special event was one that everyone gets to participate in once in their
years of marching band.
Senior Prank.
After our Friday night Ice Cream Social (which was modeled after a speakeasy this year), the Seniors traditionally use the night to wreak havoc across the camp. This year was our year, and havoc was indeed wreaked.
We had plans to prank the cabins, but we had TONS of time to kill before all the younglings went to sleep, so we hung out in the main pavillion!
Class of 2014 baby!!
We also wrapped up all the instruments and made a giant maze...
See that up at the top? Yep. That's Connor and Mark planking.

After it was dark enough (and late enough), we all headed out to the field. We disassembled the scaffolding, only to reassemble it... around a tree.
Graham, Taylor, and Nikki tearing apart the scaffolding.
Next on the list was the cabins... Kirsten and I were in charge of the younger girls cabin.
Red string everywhere!!!
We also wrapped all the bunks in red string.
And I may have put fake rats in a few girls' beds...
ANYWAYS, the staff was next on the list.
Now, these guys tried to be smart, so they locked the front door.
YAAY! They kept us out!!
Unfortunately for them, all of us have been in band for three years or more.
That means that we've been at band camp for three years or more.
Which means that we know how to get in through the back door.
Which no one thought to lock...
So after we felt like ninjas by sneaking in through the back door, we went to work.
Front walkway. It's like MARDI GRAS up in here!!
No laptop is safe! ESPECIALLY not my mother's!!!!
We also tied doorknobs together and threw red string all over the kitchen.
Then we silently snuck out and went to tag staff cars...
Mr. Farrell got a healthy reminder of what our show is this year...



And my dad's Jeep? DEFINITELY not safe.
My father, Mr. Cate, has been officially retitled "Mista Kate" by our band.
(Speaking of Mista Kate, he has a wifi blog! If you're into wifi like he is, go check it out!)
Did I just shamelessly promote my father's blog?
So at about 3:30 in the morning, we all finally went to sleep.
Only to wake up three hours later.
Jen, Kirsten, me and Nikki the next morning!
awww look!
Mista Kate is the proud parent of a drum major!
It was a good year.
It was a good prank.
It's going to be an awesome season.
Us with our awesome rebuilt scaffolding!!
So stay cool (especially if you're in the FLA... it's so hot down here!)
and always remember to be awesome!!
Question of the Post: What's the best prank you've ever done?

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Day In The Life... BAND CAMP EDITION!!

Ah, Band Camp.

Say about it what you will, but I look forward to it every year.
This year, however, it was bittersweet. It was my last band camp. :(

I left last Sunday with the other officers to go down and line the marching field... except the camp had been having TONS of rain so the field was waterlogged. We ended up sitting around all night. It was awesome.

By the time the rest of the band arrived Monday morning, we had managed to construct a crude practice field on a small dry patch of the field. The lines were awful, but they worked for what we needed.

Us lucky duck officers got to go line a second field during free time. It worked out better though, as this field had shade for most of the day.

SO Here's how a typical day at band camp goes:

This year, Cara (my co-drum major) and I decided to switch things up a bit, especially in the mornings. We've always had morning conditioning (right after daily cabin inspections), but this year we put them to music! It made mornings much better!

Cara and me!
Cara, Nikki, and myself getting the band into morning workouts.
After morning workouts, we would go to breakfast. The camp we go to has a GREAT kitchen, and we're lucky to get unlimited amounts of good food (you don't understand how much of a blessing that is unless you're at a camp with teenagers).
Breakfast was followed by morning fun on the field! We usually will do a marching basics block to get re-warmed up after breakfast, and this year we added a dance fundamentals block, as we're apparently doing some dance in our show!
Whee! Destin, Jordan, Connor and I are flying!!
Hardcore across the fields!
The best part about a three hour morning block? Lunch was right there to look forward to!
Waiting to see who will go in first...
During the week, we split up into sections as our teams (Woodwinds (clearly the best), Brass, Pit, and Guard). We have a point system that begins Monday night, when all the teams have to come up with team names and a team skit. This year, we had:
Brass: Brass Got The Stash (our show theme is the 1920s, so their skit was about a brass speakeasy)
Pit: The Insiders (since they stay inside all day. Their skit was... interesting)
Guard: Gangster Girls (again keeping with the 1920s theme)
Woodwinds: Woodwinds of the Caribbean (Pirates of the Caribbean spin-off. Duh!)
Oh yeah. Woodwinds won Monday night.
(Brass ended up winning the week, but that's irrelevant)
Anyways, after lunch we would have free time for an hour before breaking up into sectionals where we work on our show music and bond with our sections. After about two hours, the whole band comes together for ensemble rehersal.

Cara, being lovely and conducting the band during outdoor ensemble!
Ensemble time is always followed by a time of worship and devotions. For the last three years I've had the honor of leading the band in worship. Each day, a different officer or senior will write a "sealed order", a small devotional for the whole band to think about. We're given about ten minutes to read it over, think about it, and read our Bibles or pray.
Me and Nikki singing!
One tradition we have in our band is that we always sing the song "Seek Ye First" after a performance. It's our way of giving our show back to God. (We also sing it after awards ceremonies... coolest thing ever. But more on that later in the season!) One of my favorite My favorite part of band camp is always when we teach "Seek Ye First" to the new guys. We stand in the chapel, either holding hands or putting arms around shoulders, and we close our eyes and sing. I like to think that it's us just giving the season to God. Any wins are His.
Man, I'm gonna miss that time.
My favorite spot to sit for sealed orders is in the middle of this circular stone pathway they call the labrinyth. I have no idea why they call it that, but the center has been my spot for a few years. :)
From Sealed Orders, we go straight to dinner, and from dinner, to night fun on the field! Usually, we use this time to start learning our places for the show. We got two movements learned this year!
The best part of the day? Night activities!
It's the time where we get to wear normal clothes and sit in the AC. It's quite glorious.
Behold, a blurry picture of me and Nikki partaking in another Northside tradition:
The Trash Can Game
 (Referred to by the Staff as Can-Can)
In the Trash Can Game, you link arms with the two people on either side of you.
How do you win?
Don't touch the trash can.
Easy, right?
You're out if you let go of someone's hand, and sacrificing yourself so your neighbor will get out is against the rules.
You have to hold on to these people whilst getting slung around the room.
You win when you're the last one standing.
Also, you MUST wear sneakers (one kid a few years back bent back his little toe). Also, members of the colorguard are forbidden from playing (a guard girl broke her arm my freshman year and was out all season).
Needless to say, it's fun. :)
Jen, me and Kirsten at some night activity!!
Well, there's the outline of a basic day!
I'll be back soon with the special events we have...
Until then, dear readers!!
Question of the Post: Summer reading. Yay or Nay?