Band ends unpredictable marching season with Sweepstakes honors


photo or infographic by courtesy photo

SWEEPSTAKES. After earning ones at district the drum majors, seniors Alex Hopkins, GianReo Mire, Melanie Merkley and Stephanie Orozco, celebrate with a picture with the Sweepstakes trophy.

by GinElla Mire, VOW staff

As the band danced to “Party in the USA,” the bands warming up around them were a little annoyed. The time was normally spent warming up and hearing pep talks, but the band needed something else. They needed Miley.

They were ready to show off their show – a show they were not sure would ever happen. The odds were never in their favor. No spring prep. No summer camps. Many of the members chose remote learning.

No one knew what type of season they were going to have, but a few weeks before the district marching contest on November 17, Directors Chris Allen and Joseph Ditforth went to the student leaders of the organization and asked them if they were committed to taking the program to contest. The drum majors, seniors and section leaders assured him this was not impossible. They were up to the challenge.

The end result – straight ones and a sweepstakes for their first contests as a 6A band.

“I’m glad to have seen all of the effort from the members of the band despite these very difficult times,” sophomore Nathaniel Hay said. “The effort from everyone gave us the opportunity to have fun at the football games and during our performances, and to me that is all that matters.”

Due to COVID, not every student was able to experience the normal classroom setting practicing with their band peers. The various assignments each individual student was given provided a way to learn at home and at school. 

“We adjusted to this year by moving much quicker through the fundamentals of marching, and took more time on music and setting drill for the show,” senior Alex Hopkins said. “We have abundant amounts of online assignments that help teach the show music to everybody, especially for the remote learners who did not have class rehearsal time.”

It is very easy to have a negative attitude during these times, yet the band held it all together. With dedication and practice, their performance showed their overcoming success. 

“With less practices we still pushed through at the end because we knew we had to use whatever time they gave us,” senior Bradford Parker said. “We worked hard to make our show the best we could, and we did what we always do and pushed each other to be the best we could do.”

At the beginning of the marching season everyone knew it was going to be difficult. The directors and leadership team did their job and turned a questionable attitude into an uplifting achievement. 

“The band just needed time to socialize and be together,” Allen said. “We started practice by jamming to music much too loud. The band needed to hang out before we could get our minds right for practice.”

It was a year like no other, but the band defeated the obstacles and persevered. 

“I’m not going to lie, putting a show on the field this year was extremely difficult,” junior Amari May said. “The odds seemed like they were always against us, but we worked with the little people we had, and I’m thankful for Mr. Allen and Mr. D for keeping the faith and not letting COVID completely ruin the year.”