Well, early on we were clearly off our game. It seemed like we were reenacting Duke’s brass section’s famous Elite Eight meltdown from back in 1998. I mean, it was really nerve-racking out there; my turtleneck was soaked. Halftime was huge for us, though. We realized that our version of the Star Wars theme was missing the right timbre and that we really needed to step it up in the second half if we wanted to move on in the tourney.

Yes, we were down a major player. The scandal surrounding our All-American trombonist, Madison Kinkleston, has been well-documented, but that’s no excuse for our first half performance. Fortunately, we were able to come together as a band, even without our star. With that said, we all miss Kinky, no question about it. We hope his eligibility issue is figured out so he can join us at band camp this summer.

For me the real gut check came during our rendition “Walking On Sunshine.” I threw out some A and G chords in addition to my thirds, fifths, and fifths-sevenths. I wanted the dissonance to symbolize how we were in a rut. So I moved from the one chord, to the four chord, and back to the one to inspire our players to shut down the opposing team’s offense. Worked like a charm.

But it really was a team effort out there. We all have to be on the same page if we want to get to the Final Four. I saw one of my main guys in a root motion counterclockwise to the circle of fifths and I told him to pull his head out. If we want to be any good in this tournament we have to stick to cadencing using dominant and tonic chords. That’s always been our style.
To be honest, it’s hard to be humble about how we closed this game out. I’m not going to lie; we really brought it. Big time. Our deceptive cadence threw the opposing team’s defense off, and our use of double time, dominant harmony at the top of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” helped us get those two key travel calls in the final minute. Then there was our fermata before overtime—that really won the game for us, no question. We totally freaking killed it.

But we can’t get too cocky. There are more games to play. We have to stay focused and come back with the same intensity the next time around. One game, one Hall & Oates medley at a time. That’s been our motto all year long.