Senior year is a daunting yet exciting time. It can often be seen as a year of “lasts.” Last first day, last school dance, last performance, last day of school.

Little did I know how soon these “lasts” would hit me. On Saturday, I competed in my last band competition with the Naches Ranger Band. After four years of color guard, this chapter of my life is complete. It’s over, just like that. That’s how fast these things happen.

These last four years of my life have been quite the adventure. Starting guard as a timid freshman, it took me about half the season to learn how to catch one of the simpler tosses on flag. Now, I’m tossing a rifle and only occasionally dropping it. When I started, I was scared of a flag and didn’t know how to perform. This year, I had the honor of being a captain and getting to help new people in the same boat I was in just three short years ago.

Band is about more than the performance itself; it’s about the people, and all the things we experience together. From 10-plus hours a day of just about losing our minds during band camp, to freezing together at Friday night football games, and the joy of completing a performance at competition, these three months a year are dominated by band. Getting so stressed out you cry, scrambling to complete the show in time while still looking forward to the next time you practice are all things that culminate as part of the band experience. Quite literally, our blood, sweat, and tears are poured out to bring the season to completion and the field show to an audience.

Ranger Band, thank you. Thank you for giving me a place to call home for a few months every year. Thank you for helping me grow into the confident performer I am today. We did this together, you guys. These four years have meant so incredibly much to me. We have definitely had our ups and downs, but we made it through together. Every year that we’ve scrambled to get our show completed, calling ourselves a “last minute band” (which, by the way, isn’t something to be proud of), we did it together. Our program wouldn’t be what it is today, and I wouldn’t be who I am today, without each and every one of you.

Thank you, band, for the memories.

Meirabelle Brown is a senior at Naches Valley High School.

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