Concluding its 2018 season, the marching band is celebrating its tenth year as a Virginia Honor Band. The group earned the title at festival on Oct. 20 where they received a superior rating for this year’s show.
The theme was Phobias, and the Color Guard and marching band worked together to perfect their performance starting as early as July. Liz Deavers, band director, said coming up with the theme each year is a team effort.
“The marching band staff and I put our heads together, then met, via SKYPE, with our design team from Texas,” Deavers said. “The Texas team consists of a person who writes our music and another who creates our movements on the field to coordinate with the music.”
Each year the theme for the following fall is announced in the spring, but the hard work kicks off during the first week of August, when members hit the field for two weeks of intense training. Once the routine is memorized, they spend the rest of the season making subtle changes to make their performance the best.
“Throughout marching season we tweak our show, add sound effects, visual effects, and acting, where appropriate,” Deavers said.
When it came time to learn the acting, a theatre teacher gave band members tips on how to look paranoid.
“I would look over my shoulder a lot because when you are paranoid, that’s what you do,” Roy said.
Roy added that the band is successful because they focus on what is most important to the judges.
“Our philosophy is we should focus more on our marching than the thematics,” Roy explained. “Plus, we consistently have some of the best music.”
This year’s show included “Night on Bald Mountain,” Beethoven’s “Funeral March of a Marionette,” and “In the Hall of a Mountain King.” Marching band members spent hours each week perfecting this performance.
“Being in marching band takes a lot of dedication and commitment,” Deavers said. “By the end of marching band season, students have dedicated more than 300 hours to the band. Between band camp, section rehearsals, full band rehearsals, football games, marching band competitions, and parades, band students work extremely hard. They should be congratulated and respected for their commitment to success.”
Roy agreed that being part of the band was hard work. “It eats up your schedule,” Roy said. “However, the fact that you spend so much time with people makes the band members grow very close.”
Each year, Deavers is sad to see her seniors leave.
“I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful students,” Deavers said.
Even though the band is losing a group of talented seniors, don’t expect their hard work to stop.