Marching Band: Consistency is Key!
The Marching Band is one of EHHS's most successful sports teams, consistently winning championships every time they perform. On Saturday, October 21st, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut, they participated in a state championship in which they won 1st place, earning the titles of Best Effects, Best Music, Best Visual, Best Color Guard, and Best Percussion. The show was based on the movie “The Thing” and the who-dun-it game Among Us. Mr. Steven Wolf, the band instructor, stated that this year was not necessarily about winning but rather to be everyone’s favorite team and have the most memorable performance. This went over very well, as Mr. Wolf noted that audiences thoroughly enjoyed their performance, leaving a memorable impact on them. With such complex choreography and even horrible weather, how did the team overcome their struggles?
In marching band, there is a very complex scoring system; however, the simplest way to put it is that the members are judged by 7 different judges, with some on the field and some observing from the stands. Each judge scores in a different category, whether marching, technique, instrumentals, etc. Each judge gives out two scores, and these are then taken and averaged out. Their score averaged out to 83.0 out of 100. There are also many minor qualifications that categorize the level and proficiency of the band. Firstly, the bands are given a number based on size, where 1 is the smallest and 5 is the largest. Next, the bands are placed in separate groups based on proficiency. A class is for bands that are anywhere from beginner to intermediate, and Open class is for those that are intermediate to advanced.
The EHHS marching band was the only group to be promoted from A class to Open class. This was a huge step up, especially since it had many advantages. Mr. Wolf stated, “It was pretty cool [after] 20 years of this band [doing well] in A class. The whole thing was a lot more exciting than it has been in the past. [The] A-class competitions are earlier in the morning, with not as great buildings and not as good people in the states, [but] the open-class competition is like a big show. The stands were packed [with great audience members], and we were under the lights.” With all of these advantages also comes a great challenge: a much more stressful time with a lot more pressure to be perfect. For example, member Alexis Streitweiser stated that she thought it was cool seeing the other big bands in the open class; however, the judging was still a lot harsher.
This season was also very challenging for the students due to several issues that came up. For starters, the band had one of the smallest wind sections they’ve ever had. The wind section consists of instruments that are blown into, such as clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, etc. Although a factor that they could not control, the weather this season caused a big problem, specifically when competitions were canceled or postponed to days that the marching band was unable to attend. This led to the team not being able to perform in front of many audiences, which left little feedback for them to improve their performance. They usually perform at about 7 or 8 competitions; however, they were only able to perform at about 4–5 this year. Mr. Wolf noted that it’s not as fun when performing less since there are few audience reactions. Those reactions, praise, and criticisms are what helped the band improve; however, they were able to get it to its full effect.
Despite all these troubles, they had many successes too! Specifically, the performance itself was amazing, especially from the choreography, music, and acting. Mr. Wolf is experienced with electronic sounds and music, so he sees their level of musical technique as a lot higher than that of many other bands. Combining electronic aspects, sampled sounds, and personal flairs from the members allowed for the show to be a cohesive whole. One person who specifically does amazing is Evan Maya, the drummer. Mr. Wolf stated, “That’s a unique talent that not a lot of schools have. [He] can hold the entire band together; [it’s like] he’s cooking in the back, and that’s a great strength.
To further utilize this talent, he was placed directly in the middle, allowing his sound to be projected to the whole audience. Another big feat was the teamwork of the members, especially when problems arose. Members Kimberly Carrera, Ayvah Vincent, and Alexis Streitweiser all agreed that the band members are a great support for each other, especially when helping to either solve or mitigate the tension.
Through adversity and tension, the band continued to reign victorious, claiming another win under their belt. The members handled all of these situations extremely well, and having the support of the members helped tremendously. Mr. Wolf states, “They did great over the whole season! Especially considering all the challenges they were up against this year. They worked their tail off and put on a great show!”
- Bill Muter for arranging the music
- Tom Petrahai for helping with the drill design
- Color guard staff members for the color guard choreography.
To find more information about the band itself, previous competitions, and how to join, visit their website here!