It's 10:00 AM on Saturday morning
(9/26/09). Do you know where your band member student is? Sitting
on the sidewalk outside a brand new building that has been
constructed to support the Performing and Fine Arts, but which is
currently locked up tight keeping them out, even though many of
them have been here since 8:30 this morning.
Instead of complaining, which
would do no good, the section leaders and band parents organize
the students to begin stretching exercises and practice marching
Their instruments are locked up
in that brand new building in the background, but that doesn't
stop the students. They march to their own beat, shouting out the
cadences and singing the band music they will be playing if
someone ever comes along and lets them inside.
This, then, is the lead story for
this Saturday. Cicely Tyson band students playing on pretend
instruments and singing their parts to the Star Spangled
Banner outside their locked building. Fortunately the full
story has a happy ending, but only because these band students
refused to let it rain on their parade.
The above video is not a joke.
The band students aren't playing a game. They are taking an
adverse situation and turning it into an opportunity. Instead of
going back home and giving up on the school that always seems to
put obstacles in their path, they continue to do what they can to
get ready for their half-time show.
At 10:30, the building is finally
unlocked and students hurry inside to get their band instruments
and start tuning up for a quick rehearsal. While they tune, band
parents organize a breakfast and begin preparing the students'
warm-up uniforms that have finally arrived.
These are only nylon warm-up suits, but they are
finally here and today the students will wear them as temporary
band uniforms. The band parents form a work committee out in the
hall to sort the uniforms by size and spray them with a water
repellant finish. Everyone not working with the band rehearsal or
serving breakfast lends a hand, including myself and Al-quadir Marsh
who assisted with today's photographs. That's why there is only
one photo to show of the process.
Once all students have been issued a
"uniform" they go outside with their instruments to
line up and do some pre-marching exercises. Al-quadir is finished
with "uniform duty" and goes back to taking photos.
As the East Orange Jaguars (in red) and the
Livingston High School (in white) football teams take to the
field, the Cicely Tyson Marching Band gets into position in the
Today's video only shows the band finally
getting to play the Star Spangled Banner in their home stadium.
Unfortunately, as soon as they finished playing, Al-quadir Marsh
and I had to run to the East Orange Library where we turned into
Wiz Kids, and Al-Quadir became Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki to perform magic
for the Saturday Story Hour. So we missed the game and the
band's half-time show. But we'll be back as a team to cover the
band's progress next week.
Text, photography and videography by Jim
Gerrish. Marked photos by Al-quadir Marsh.