Stampede Day Ten
The conclusion to one of the longest weeks I have ever experienced during my time being involved with the stampede.
This also happen to be a slightly harder day to get through as it started at 9am, and similar to the colorguard the day before, there was a group of people dressed up nicely, and ready for their photos taken. Except in this case it was people who would no longer be in the band as of about 10:00 tonight. These were the people who have committed an unreasonable amount of time into the organization, and were committed enough to keep coming back year after year until they turn 21 (or in some cases did a bonus year or two). These are the age-out for the year. Though during my time in the band, I only really got to know two of them decently well, I'm proud to have had the opportunity to take their photos this morning, and throughout the week. Even though I will complain about the morning early morning, I was a blast taking their photos, and hopefully as meaningful to them as it was to me.
The routine I had gotten into the past week seemed just a little bit more special this day than it did before. Though in reality it was almost the exact same as it was the day before, it was very special for me and those I interacted with. The steps show that afternoon seemed to go off without a hitch. The energy was there, and everyone genuinely seemed happy during the performance this time around. To some extent I almost didn't want to take photos, and just enjoy the moment they were having, but that thought passed away after about 30-seconds. While taking photos, I remembered the previous Day tens' that I was in, and remember the traditions and the smiles the showband put on peoples faces, and to think I was one of those people on the other side still kind of weirded me out, but it was a great experience being on that side.
Afterwards, I followed the band to the grandstand for their rodeo set. Which I managed to gain access to the stage for their performance through various means (I got a pass..). The set ended up getting canceled due to the rain. I was a little sad about it, but if the band shared the same sentiment to me when I was there, it was that the performances on the grandstand stage were not nearly as fun as the steps, or the field show.
The rain continued for quite a while, and small ensemble circuit was canceled. So the entire time between the afternoon set and the evening set not a lot happened. It ended up being a lot of navigating through the large crowds that accumulated during the day, and attempting to find something to do before brass warm-up.
Going from that however, I lost track of time and I managed to get to the last bit of the brass warmup which brought a few tears to my eyes. Though I was behind a decent portion of the sound, it was amazing hearing the song in this context. I'm not sure if it was the fact that they were all more focused because it was the last day, the place they were, or something else but the power behind the sound they created was incredible.
Not long after was their final steps show performance for the year. There was a bit of excitement in the air, and the band was visibly excited. Once the performance had started a few shenanigans here and there that have become tradition at this point came through and this was the most exciting performance the band had put on the whole week. There was a lot of power behind the sound they made, the actions they had during songs where together and done with conviction, I saw some of the biggest smiles in the band, and even bigger ones in the crowd. Though there were also tears amongst the bad, none of them seemed to be out of sadness, but rather overfilled with joy that they had gotten the chance to experience what they have (but maybe they were tears of sadness that it was all coming to an end, but who really knows, because I sure didn't know why I was crying on my last day ten). I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to take photos of all my friends, and hopefully portrayed the experience of the band accurately.
Thank you to all those who are reading these, and thank you to the members for putting up with a camera in your face most of the day during the week.
It's been a blast.
Till next time.