The EHHS marching band and color guard played their way into first place at the State Championship tournament after consistent wins at statewide competitions throughout their fall season for the fourth year. The consistent wins all season did not come easily to the new director or the returning marching band members after the hiatus in competitions for COVID-19 last year.
The band and color guard begin practicing a year in advance in order to produce the best results possible. Mr. Wolf, the new band director, held an open house in order to gauge interest in participation. After students commit to the team, they work to hire a drill writer to craft their performance. The instructional staff leaders narrow down the theme of the performance, but ultimately Mr. Wolf makes the final decision.
In order to create the final performance, it first must be determined who is playing in the band, how many members there are, etc. This year there was no drum line and, therefore, the performance was designed to feature one student on a drum set without emphasis on the percussion section. Over the summer students received their sheet music to begin practicing for competitions. Some sections have individual rehearsals scattered throughout the summer. Most members attend band camp in late August to practice as a whole and use the experience to bond with the team. The camp lasts two weeks and seven hours a day. The team meets consistently throughout the fall semester through November every Tuesday and Thursday night in order to clean up music, formations, and the acting portions of the performance.
Brand new director, Mr. Wolf, worked hard with the band, alongside the other 8 staff members, in order to deliver their championship winning act. The team works very well together, says Mr. Wolf: “They kind of have to. Everyone’s working towards the same goal.” Despite their continued success throughout the season, Mr. Wolf admits that he doesn’t really care about winning. He says, “If they don't win it's not a failure. The goal isn't to win, it's to be better musicians.” He says winning is subjective based on the judges’ opinions and how well they execute the performance. Overall, he just wants everyone to play their best and leave knowing they worked their hardest. Usually the band moves onto Nationals after winning States, however this year they chose not to join. “This year’s show wasn’t conducive to doing well at Nationals,” states Mr. Wolf. At Nationals there is a section of ranking based solely on the drum line, which the EHHS band does not have this year due to lack of drum players. In spite of this obstacle, the band still put on an outstanding show and brought home the State Championship. Mr. Wolf’s favorite part of the show was an instance where the band can adlib and their tuba player shouted out “so very poor!”, making even the judges laugh.
Samantha Zembrowski and Angelina Vincenti are color guard co-captains this year. She joined the color guard after seeing her sister work as assistant drum major in 2017 and has now been in color guard for 5 years. She doesn’t plan on continuing color guard but will remember the memories she made with the team. Sam says that working with Mr. Wolf has been going well: “Everyone was a bit worried with having a change of directors in the middle of the season but it worked better than expected.” She states that the team works really well together, typically working in sections (color guard, drumline, pit, and instruments) in the beginning of practice and coming together towards the end of practice. This year exceeded Sam’s expectations: “I’m really proud that we were able to even pull a show together. With a new director and many new members it was definitely a challenge but it was great and I’m really proud of everyone.”