Back With a Roar : Marching Cougars Receive Superior at VBODA

Emma Shanahan, Staff Writer

On Saturday, October 30th, the Kettle Run Marching Cougars received a superior rating at their state competition. The competition, called VBODA, is an assessment of marching bands across the state. Band director Mr. Fullard was very happy with the band´s performance. ¨I was proud of you guys. I wasn’t extremely nervous. As a band, there are always things that we need to work on, but I was very proud of the performance¨ he said. Drum majors Joslyn Sutton and Krysta Tincher, both juniors, were extremely proud of how the band played at their assessment. “I think VBODA was our best run yet and I was glad to see everyone’s positivity and more than excited to hear that we got a superior,” said Sutton. Tincher was extremely proud of how the band did, considering the setbacks the band faced: “It was the best thing that could have happened this season. With a new band director and a third of the band out with covid, I wasn’t expecting too much. I’m really proud of the band.” 


This season, Sutton and Tincher were transition drum majors, which meant that they would change from conducting to playing in the show. Being a transition drum major was “so much harder than I thought it would be. The pressure and chatter and changes were insane and extremely hard on me,” Sutton said. “I was nervous about it, to be honest,” said Tincher. Even though the pressure was on, they kept their cool and led the band to victory.


  Sophomore Luke Crummett was very happy with his performance at VBODA. “I felt like I did better than I’ve ever done. It wasn’t super stressful, yet at the same time I felt that I was able to do a lot better.”  

Junior Sydney Gomez was also happy with how VBODA went. “I believe overall VBODA went very well. I had a great section that worked very hard to get where they got and I think their hard work paid off… I believe we put our hearts on that field and played the best show we could’ve, and it sounded amazing.” 

Junior Will Shanahan was pleasantly surprised with how the band performed that day. “I thought we did excellent at VBODA. Before the performance, I was honestly expecting to receive no greater than an Excellent rating from the judges. However, after performing, I sincerely believed that our performance could get a Superior. Turns out, I was right.” 


These feelings of pride have all resulted from the immensely hard work put in by the Marching Cougars. The days were long, but in the end all this work culminated in an incredible performance.


This season was quite different from past seasons. The band´s numbers had shrunk from 55 in 2019 to 28 in 2021, meaning that the band was moved down to class 1A. Having a smaller band meant that many of the sections were small. One of the smallest sections was percussion, led by junior Sydney Gomez. She was originally very nervous about percussion being such a small section because there was a chance one of the percussion sections, pit or drumline, would be cut from the season. Sadly, drumline was grounded for the season, which was another worry for Gomez. “I am a marcher and enjoy marching very much, and was excited to teach marching to the new generation of kids coming in. Throughout the season these feelings did get better; I started looking more positively at having to stay grounded, but in the end I did not enjoy it as much as I did marching.”

Junior Will Shanahan was also worried about having such small numbers. I initially thought that being in a small band would be bad for us, mostly because the drill couldn’t be as complex, and we wouldn’t sound as loud or intense. However, my outlook on this grew more positive as the season progressed, and recognized that we could still achieve much and project a good sound, even with numbers as low as ours.”

However, having a small band was not all that bad. Director Mr. Fullard said that having a smaller band made it easier to form relationships with the students. As a member of the band, I can say that this is very true. It was a lot easier for me to get to know my fellow band members when there were less people.


The band also saw the arrival of a new band director, Mr. Fullard. He arrived at Kettle Run just three weeks before the start of band camp, which is a stressful endeavor for a brand new band director. According to Mr. Fullard, “It was very stressful and nerve wracking. Getting the job three weeks before camp was very stressful, because it usually takes around three months [to plan band camp]¨. 


Despite having all these changes thrown at them so suddenly, the Marching Cougars pushed through and worked very hard throughout the season. Their sense of community and drive was as strong as ever as they returned to the field for another successful season. 


Emma Shanahan plays bass guitar with the Marching Cougars. Go Green!