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Pride covers Arizona, and Wal-Mart

Dec. 30, 2007

By Chauvin D. Aaron, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger

I woke up this morning and prepared myself to attend church. My friend, Daniel Koenig, came and picked up me and Candice Warner for services at Camelback Church of Christ. We attended this church last year when we came to Arizona. Daniel and his family were nice enough to take us to church and take us out to eat at P F Chang's after services. We hurried back to the hotel to prepare to leave for rehearsal at 1:30 pm. I spoke with my cousin, April, on the phone and she let me know what was going on back in Oklahoma.

The facilities at this football field are very nice. They have a lift that the directors can go up in to see the field better and they also have storage space so that we don't have to load and unload the truck after every rehearsal. Rehearsal went well. We were able to finish halftime and work through some details on pregame so that everything would be in order for Wednesday. After rehearsal, I stayed out on the field with the drum major finalists and we ran through the strut a few times. The entire drum major audition process has continued to remind me that my time here is almost finished.

After rehearsal, we made another run to Wal-Mart with the entire Pride. The first time we went it was like the game show "Super Market Sweep" with 325 people. We had 30 minutes to shop, buy and checkout. I don't believe I have ever seen anything like it. It was good Mr. Britt called ahead of time to let them know we were coming. It was one of the first times that I did not have to wait at all to check out. I had the store assistant manager check me out. I guess they had all hands on deck for us.

That evening I got back to the hotel and prepared to go out with "The Triplets" also known as Beth and Mary Powell and Lacey Taylor. They arranged for the shuttle to take us to the Pink Taco for our 7:30 pm reservation. I know it is a weird name. I am still trying to get over that. Once we got there we realized that the saxophone section, tuba section, and half of the horn section was there as well. Anymore, anywhere you go you can see at least 20 Pride members or more. We had a great dinner and reminisced about our experiences in Pride.

We went back to the hotel and Daniel was there because he had just taken Candice to In and Out Burger. We went back to my room and watched some football highlights and my roommates came back to the room. They finally convinced me that we would go climb Camelback Mountain tomorrow at 9:00 am. I am definitely not a mountain climber and it is not my wish to die in Arizona, but I guess it is a once in a lifetime chance.


Dec. 29, 2007

By Chauvin D. Aaron, Pride of Oklahoma Blogger


Today seemed to start so early.  I guess seven hours in a bed is not long enough to recover from a 23 1/2-hour bus trip.  I quickly got up and showered at 7:30 am so that I could prepare and get dressed for the parade.  We left the hotel at 9:00 am for the  Fiesta Bowl Parade in downtown Scottsdale.  We unloaded the buses and warmed up in sectionals. 

The funny thing about parades is that it is always a hurry up and wait process.  During this time period, we took our group photo picture.  If you are not aware, this is always an ordeal.  It seems as if no one has ever taken a group band picture before.  Anyway, after 10-15 minutes we finally were finished with the pictures and on to wait some more for our turn in the parade.

The parade started at 11:00 am, but we did not start marching down the street until 12:45 pm.  That seemed to be much longer than last year.  We did not leave the parking lot until 1:30 pm.  I had a serious headache and was kind of sick from all of the events of the day.  The people seemed to really enjoy it and I gained a sense of fulfillment.  I went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

After I woke up from my nap, it really did not help me feel better.  I actually felt worse.  On the way to rehearsal, I did not speak to anyone because my headache was that bad.  I went into rehearsal deciding I was going to do the best I could with the way I felt.  Surprisingly, once I stepped on the podium and we started warming up I started feeling a lot better.  I was kidding with Adam Basset, my seatmate on this trip, that the "music seemed to heal me", but I really think it did.  After rehearsal I felt a lot better and I am sure it was because I changed my focus from myself to the performance and the well-being of the band.

Tonight we went out to Island Burger with a group of about 14 of us to eat.  They had the best onion rings I have ever tasted in my life.  We ate so much food!!  It was a very cold night again and we had to stay at this location until our buses came to pick us up at midnight.  We went to Dave and Busters and watched everyone play games until the buses came to pick us up.  I did not end up playing at all.  I decided to live vicariously through others and their winnings and losings as it might turn out.  I still had a great time.  I never knew that Dr. Wakefield and Mr. Britt were so quick at air hockey.  It was a very intense game.  I really enjoyed the night.  When we got back to the room, I showered and went straight to sleep.


Dec. 28, 2007

We finally arrived at our hotel at 2:20 pm today.  We only had two hours to unpack our uniforms, unpack our luggage and check into our our hotel room until we left for rehearsal at 5:30 pm. 

We made it to our rehearsal site at Horizon High School and there were no lines football lines on the field only soccer lines.  This definitely made us turn to Plan B.  We ended up focusing on mainly playing and preparing for the parade tomorrow by marching the sequence around track.

It was a lot colder tonight than I anticipated, but I definitely warmed up after I started conducting and moving around more.  When we got back to the hotel I was more than ready to go to sleep, but not before an unexpected birthday party.

A roommate, Justin Beck, turned 20 years old at midnight and a few of our friends came over with a personal-size birthday cake with a candle and a bucket of candy.  I felt pretty bad since I had not remembered his birthday, but he was okay with it. 

After Justin and his friends left, my other roommate, Dylan Taylor, and I stayed in the room so that we could sleep.  My roommate from Norman, Blake DeLao, called and I told him about our trip and the first rehearsal.  I finally made it to sleep in preparation for the parade and the events of tomorrow.


Dec. 27, 2007

"On the road again..." every year about this time The Pride of Oklahoma follows The University of Oklahoma football team to a bowl game.  We left Norman at 3 p.m. on Thursday from Lloyd Noble Center headed for Arizona.

 This trip started out just like any other, except I went into it knowing it was my last.  Being the 57th Drum Major of The Pride of Oklahoma has been really amazing this season.  I am excited to end my season on another trip to the Fiesta Bowl.

The activities on the bus ranged from sleeping, to reading, to watching movies and to even knitting scarves.  You truly get to see everyone in their element on long bus trips.  The biggest challenge for me is sleeping on the bus since it is such close quarters.

I managed to sleep well and awoke looking at "The Land of Enchantment" in New Mexico.  Eight-and-a-half hours later, we concluded our 23 1/2-hour bus ride by arriving in "The Valley of the Sun" at Chapparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.  When I stepped off the bus, it felt like we had just left here yesterday.  This time I am leading the band and looking forward to a very different experience.

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