Marching Band teaches teamwork and pride in accomplishment

By Chettney Carr

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Chettney Carr – Walnut Grove High School. Contributed photo

From the Friday Night Lights to the fun and exciting competitions. Marching Band has been one of my best moments of high school. Marching band has taught me that everyone is an important aspect to the show, to take pride in what I do, and to always keep my head held high no matter what. I have made so many friends and met lots of amazing people through this activity. Marching band is the one place that I can truly be myself ,and I am around a community of people where I am comfortable enough to be myself.

Before the season, the band has band camp in the Summer or as soon as schools out. During band camp everyone learns basics and drill. Basics teaches underclassman and new marchers how to properly march ,and what to do when the band gets called to attention. We also learn how to march in time with a metronome. The metronome helps us keep tempo when playing and marching. After basics the band starts to learn and set drill. When we set drill for the show every person in the band is given drill charts; to tell them where to march. This tiny piece of paper tells us whether we are on the right or left side of the field, how far we are from the front or back hash, how many steps we need to take to get to our dot, and what number we are.

At my school our band does at least 5 hours of band camp. Basics and drill in the morning, lunch inside at 12 noon, team time, then sectionals, full band inside, then we head back out to finish for the day. During team time, the band is split up into teams to perform a skit and a dance. Whichever team wins the most points gets a prise. After team time is sectionals. The band breaks into to different sections such as woodwinds, high brass, low brass, percussion, and guard. In sectionals, we work on music and technique with alike instruments/groups. After sectionals, all of the band meets up together in the band room and play together. After full band we all head outside for another round of marching and basics before the days over.

Walnut Grove High School Marching Band. Contributed photo

After band camp we wait for football season to start up; which is not very long. Our first game our band typically doesn’t march in uniforms yet. Mostly because the uniforms are not ready or we are still waiting for uniform orders to come in. This part is the most exciting part of marching band performing in front of an audience during half time. Before we march at half time marching bands usually play in the stands. This is when our team gets a touchdown, they get the first down, or when we have a break. Playing in the stands can be fun, but it is encouraged to pay attention to our drum major to tell us when to play. The band has to pay attention to his/her cut offs so the team doesn’t get a penalty. Drumline sometimes plays cadences while the football team plays but it’s also sometimes unlikely.

Another exciting part about marching band is competition. The bus rides are definitely one for the books. On competition days we all get up early and head to the school at 8 a.m. sharp. We carry our uniforms in garment bags so we can keep our jackets clean. Then when everyone has everything we head out to the bus and go to competition. When we get to school we ether wait until it is time to get ready to perform. In most cases since our band is smaller than other schools we typically go first or one of the first few bands to perform. We also still have time before performance to play and tune with our section. Some schools have their own practice fields for other bands to practice on before they perform for judges. Then when we are done having one final rehearsal together the band heads out to an area near the field. We wait here till it is our turn to go on the field next. Then we all march down to the field and the whole band is now in performance mode. At this time it is very important to stay synchronized and professional. Competition is the only time we get criticism and feedback on our show. This feedback; whether it’s positive or negative, helps the band learn how to perform better and improve.

After the performance we stay and watch other bands shows. This is another exciting part about competition. Seeing all the amazing performances from different bands from different schools. This also gives us time to make new friends and meet other bands or eat food from the concession stands. After all the performances are done we wait for the awards ceremony. During this time our leadership team heads down to the field to collect trophies.After the awards ceremony we head back to the school to put our uniforms up and go home and rest.

Near November, marching band season is over for us. We all say our goodbyes, even though we see each other during concert band or guard meets up with each other in the guard room, and wish each other luck as if it seems we are going our separate ways. Some people are glad the seasons over others, like me, are sad until the next season comes around. Marching band really does take hard work, dedication, pride, and commitment. It may not be easy at times but the band pulls through. At the end of each show I become more and more proud of myself because I am happy with what I have accomplished so far. Marching band is definitely a memory that I will keep forever. I will never forget all the friends i’ve made, the amount of work I put into to make our show amazing, the crazy amount of focus I put into the show, and the improvements i’ve made over the course of two years of playing the saxophone. I will never forget the many lessons I am taught throughout the season: everyone is an important aspect to the show, have pride in what you do, always keep your held high no matter what, and never ever give up.    

Chettney Carr, 15, Your Local News Journalism Explorer Walnut Grove High School. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

Chettney Carr is a sophomore at Walnut Grove High School and a Journalism Explorer with Your Local News. In this column, she shares what marching band means to her, how instrumental it can be in promoting pride in personal achievement and the social benefits of teamwork.

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