“One person absent out of 120 people may seem to you like it’s not a big deal. But you’re wrong. A missing person is like a missing piece of a puzzle. Incomplete.” Unlike the other sports available at Fountain Valley High School, the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment (FVRR), otherwise simply known as “band,” illustrates how all members are of vital importance when it comes to being a part of the activity. Every person has a role they need to fulfill on the field. Every person has their own specific place they need to be in during ever second of the show. If someone is missing, like our band director stated, there could be a problem. This block had nine people. These nine people formed a perfect square that laid on the left side of the field, where everyone in the stands could see. But there was someone missing.
“Oh no guys!” My friend Angela said on the bus. It was a Saturday, our first show day. As freshmen, this would be our first show ever on the field. We practiced for ore than nine hours a week, for a whole month. We spent so much time preparing for this day. We were all shaking with excitement as we piled onto the bus this morning. “Johnny texted me. He said he can’t make it to the show because he’s sick!” “What?? But this is his first show!” We all frowned. There was going to be someone missing.
“Introducing the Fountain Valley Royal Regiment!” The announcer yelled through the microphone, and our counting began. But I was worried. Johnny wasn’t here, and there was always one spot where I would have to rely on where Johnny is, to figure out where I was. “1, 2, 3, 4, up, 2, 3, 4, turn, 2, 3, 4,…” The beginning of the show, that we practiced for hours and hours on, was being performed in front of a live audience for the first time. Our last note before the first movement on the show ended with perfection. The entire audience clapped as we maneuvered our way to Movement 2, and that’s where my worries were getting to me. Marching backwards at an angle was difficult. I usually looked to my left, to use Johnny as a guide to get me there. But he wasn’t there anymore. What if I missed my spot? What if I counted wrong? What if I bumped into somebody? I took a deep breath, and got ready to turn towards my next spot in the show.
“DAAAA. DA. DA. snap, down!” Movement 2 started with a huge impact, and after “down,” we would all march towards our next dot at a fast, rhythmic speed. I was ready. Resisting the urge to look to my left, I tried remembering the exact step size and counts I had to take in order to make it to my dot. I held my clarinet tightly, and counted in my head. “4, 5, 6, 7, 8!” I halted on the field, and looked to see that I was in the exact spot I was supposed to be. Besides the empty spot to my left, everything was in order. But it wasn’t over yet. The block had to move across the field independently. for the next twelve counts. But working together with the other members of the block, we made it through the movement swiftly. There were some moments where we were caught off guard because Johnny wasn’t in the block, but we were able to make it through.
It was a difficult task. A missing person in the show makes a big impact to the entire performance. When Johnny wasn’t present during our first show, I was affected by his absence. I was so worried that the show would be jeopardized. It would’ve been a lot better if he was there. We had all agreed. But we knew that this problem wouldn’t go away. We had so many more to go. We had a whole season in front of us. This was only our first performance. There were 120 people, and we knew 120 people couldn’t make it to every single day we had a show. A missing piece of the puzzle made a big difference. But with the others pieces working together, it still turned out to be a great work of art.