Load-In (4:00 AM)

Four in the morning when people are starting to arrive, coffee in hand, to begin the process of getting the Duncanville Band into travel mode. Looking at the things coming out of cars, you would think that we are mounting an expedition to the other side of the world. However, it’s just a “day trip” to San Antonio – if you consider 25 hours a day.

Last night about a dozen of the chaperones got together to pack the breakfast for over 410 people. Bag breakfast – each consisting of a muffin, a package of pop-tarts, and a banana – and the parts of a sack lunch delivered by a catering company will be the food that will keep the kids ready
to go when we arrive.

The lunch represents the first challenge. While it was described as a box lunch, it arrived as individual parts and needed to be assembled into individual portions. Of course, we have not allowed time for this process. Snap decision – we will hand out the lunch in individual parts along with the bag breakfast.

The band is on the field rehearsing as we are having our chaperone meeting and the buses arrive. The most critical thing at this point is to make sure the each person has their uniform and instrument – everything else is secondary. Chaperones check the students onto the buses, asking each a
checklist of “Do you have…” I hope the kids are listening, as we have no spares on-board.

Second challenge – two of the buses that have arrived are 50 passengers rather than 54 passengers. Since we are almost completely full there are very few extra seats on any of the buses, there are now five people in need of a place to sit. Fortunately, the High Hat (color guard) buses have some open
seats, so we are able to shift people to those buses.

Load-in took longer that I wanted – we did not depart till shortly before 6:00. That is time that will have to be made up on the trip, and between us and San Antonio is the traffic nightmare that is Austin. It’s going to be a long day – but a day that we have prepared for and looked forward to
all year.

Now it is time to get the kids settled on the dark bus and dash south, the sun still below the horizon out the left-hand window. Our eight bus caravan streams into the darkness toward the goal – State!

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