Marching Toward Victory
by Michaela Rivi
The Leechburg Area High School marching band recently won first place with a high score of 74.25 in a marching band competition and won all three caption awards. The competition, which took place on Saturday, September 27, was held at Norwin High School. The band not only beat the only other band in their section, by a 3.62 margin, but also scored higher than a band in a high class. Caption awards were awarded to the band for achievement in High Music, High Visual Effect, and High General Effect.
While many football fans just see the completed results of the show during half-time, few realize the large amount of work that goes into preparing and planning a show. Leechburg’s band staff which includes director Rob Reams, assistant director and Leechburg alumna Natalie DelVecchio, color guard instructor Ashley Mondale, drill designer and consultant Bob Harris, and another Leechburg alum Jake Mrocheck, began by selected the theme in February.
“We are thinking about all the elements both musically and visually when it comes to competing,” Reams said. While many ideas were brought up and discussed, one idea was selected as the favorite choice. The show is based on the idea that one girl, played sophomore color guard member Erin McCormick, battles with the two opposing sides of her personality. The show sees band and color guard members walking between the world of reality and the world of imagination by passing through mirrors that are set up on and then moved around the field.
The musical selections for this year include ‘Atmadja,’ a song from a Cirque de Sole show; ‘Facade,’ from the Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde’; ‘Jazz Waltz No. 2,’ a saxophone jazz waltz; ‘No Need to Hide,’ which was written by Reams, and Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.’
After the show was created, both the band and color guard begin their summer practices which all lead up to the two-week Band Camp in July as well as practices held three times a week during August. Once school starts, the marching band practices all together at least once a week on the football field, and the band also practices daily during first period.
When asked about the expectations for this year’s show, sophomore Amy Young, who plays in the pit, said, “This year’s show is really good. We have high expectations for ourselves.” Since the band began competing three years ago, much has changed for them, Senior clarinetist Sara Ritter said, “Since we started competing, we have improved a lot. We also started using props.”
While the band will be losing nine seniors at the end of this year, they have worked to build a solid foundation for future competitive shows. When senior percussionist Missy Jones was asked about her feelings on this being her last year she said, “I feel like it is going to be sad yet exciting because we are going to be doing more and going to championships.”
With high expectations and good plans, Leechburg’s marching band is bound to have an exciting year.