OMEA Finals 2021
Yesterday, Saturday, October 30, 2021 was the Ohio Music Educators Association Finals. The Marching Warriors got to travel just a short ways down the road to Hilliard Bradley High School in Hilliard.
Sure . . . it was not the most ideal conditions for a marching band competition. It was wet and challenging. But it was also the first Finals the band had attended since October 2019. And so it was special--as all of the opportunities that the band has to perform.
Our score? An Excellent rating by the OMEA judges. Were we disappointed? Yes. And that is because we had achieved two Superior ratings earlier in October during OMEA competitions. So, we had expectations. And that is good. It is good to be confident and expect to succeed. So, there was some disappointment that the band didn't end OMEA competitions with the best run of the year and the rating we knew we were capable of.
But, put aside the disappointment for a moment and think about what Saturday's feeling really signals.
When this band began practices in June, it was so very young and inexperienced. Two-thirds of the Marching Warriors were eighth graders and freshmen and sophomores. That means that more than half of the band had NEVER been to a judged competition in their marching band career! The eighth graders and the freshmen had significant disruptions in their musical training due to COVID-19 and a lack of regular, in class practice. There were significant reasons why the 2021 season was rightly seen as an "experience" year.
But the band walking into the stadium at Hillard Bradley EXPECTING to earn a Superior rating. That shows me that the students had grown so much. That tells me that our staff is so committed. That proves to me that this season became more that shaking the rust off and trying to learn. The band HAD learned. And more, it had excelled. It could compete against anyone, any week, no questions asked.
So put aside the disappointment and remember that the Marching Warriors had proven themselves in 2021. And it isn't over yet. The MSBA finals are this coming Saturday and I can bet that we will march onto that field with the same level of earned confidence that was true yesterday.