Getting the band back together

In preparation for the state competition, the marching band adjusts to new changes after a year of isolation

Freshman+Jake+Stagg-Ricketts+plays+bass+drum+at+the+Capital+City+Marching+Festival.on+Sept.+25%0Aat+Burger+Stadium.+%0APhoto+by+Morgan+Eye.+

Morgan Eye

Freshman Jake Stagg-Ricketts plays bass drum at the Capital City Marching Festival.on Sept. 25 at Burger Stadium. Photo by Morgan Eye.

Lucy Marco

For a whole year, the band never heard a full audience clapping after their performance or the rich sound of their harmonies blending. As they resume normal marching band practices, the excitement and motivation are higher than ever. 

 “With Taco Shack it was very rewarding to have an audience clap for you after a ton of hard work put into it,” said sophomore Stella Hufford, a flute player who has entered her first actual year of marching band.

Without any socializing last year and limited band practices, Hufford feels as if she has “pretty much missed out on everything.”

I think the time off that whole year has made everyone really hyped about getting better. We feel more motivation to do well than we did in years prior.

— Will Sharp

“Last year was kind of depressing because there was none of that interaction with hearing the other acoustics and really being just one giant group,” said Hufford. “So when it was virtual, everyone was obviously isolated and we could only hear the teacher playing. We had to do a lot of self-figuring out of things.”

Hufford noticed that last year it was difficult for the band directors to figure how to run band while everyone was isolated.

“But our main focus was actually learning in detail the TMEA music, so we had that. But for the second semester, it was pretty much just like ‘okay here’s a random song let’s just learn it for the sake of it’ kinda thing.” 

For senior Will Sharp, online learning meant missing opportunities to grow. But with his saxophone solo during the marching performance, he feels as if he still has a chance to improve as a musician. 

“Last year, for me personally, there was a little saxophone trio I was supposed to play during a marching show, but this year kind of makes up for that so I’m not that mad,” he said. 

Sharp finds that after a year of isolation, the energy to improve as a band and as musicians is high.

“I think the time off that whole year has made everyone really hyped about getting better,” Sharp said. “We feel more motivation to do well than we did in years prior. It’s just been nice being out and doing stuff for once.”

Senior Will Sharp plays a solo at House Park during halftime of the Connally game on Sept. 10. Photo by Mia Gomez.
Senior Scarlet Frese, a drum major, oboe and saxophone player, has found a new appreciation for the hardships of band.

“Being able to have a marching season again, being able to see everybody has been really fun. It makes me really happy,” Frese said. “You get to the end of the day and you’re really tired and you’re like ‘I’m very happy that I have the opportunity to be tired.’”

While she missed the community of band, she was relieved to have a looser schedule last year.  

“I was kind of happy I didn’t have to wake up at five o’clock to be at McCallum at six o’clock and then have football games until 11 at night. But it’s worth it now.”

Hufford finds the educational and social environment to be a lot more enjoyable with in-person band.

“It’s definitely a better environment to learn music,” she said. “At first, it was hard to adjust to all the different things going on like knowing where we’re going to be on the field… the counts, memorizing the music-specific parts, and memorizing choreography.”

You get to the end of the day and you’re really tired and you’re like ‘I’m very happy that I have the opportunity to be tired.’”

— Scarlet Frese

Both Sharp and Frese have noticed the influx of “new kids,” the freshmen and sophomores who are experiencing their first year of marching band this year. Sharp has found the new crowd makes things “a bit more challenging since they’re inexperienced.” While Frese finds that their motivation and passion for band is high, partly due to the influence of the upperclassmen.

“So we actually have much better discipline than what we had two years ago because for half of the kids, their expectations were set by us and we tried to set an expectation of being very on top of it and not messing around,” Frese said. 

Going into a competition-packed year, including the state competition, Sharp, Frese, and Hufford are full of excitement. 

“I’m excited but nervous. I trust our teachers to be able to prep us well. I just need to trust us, the band, to really have a good performance and show off how much we’ve worked, because we’ve worked a lot,” Frese said .

Senior drum major Scarlet Frese conducts the marching band at House Park on Sept. 10. Photo by Grace Nugent.
Hufford has mixed feelings but is ultimately looking forward to the new experience.

“I am excited about it just for the fact that we get to perform and it’s very rewarding, but it’s also just something new,” Hufford said. “So I’m not really sure how I feel about it, but I’m glad I can get to experience something like that.” 

Sharp is ready to feel accomplished.

“Maybe it sounds pretentious a little, but we usually do well and it feels really really good to do well,” he said. “So I’m just excited to like be in the stands and they’re like, ‘Oh McCallums first!’  And we’re like, ‘Ahhh!’” 

During this action-packed marching band season, members new and old have a newfound appreciation for the rewards that come from their hours upon hours of practice and performance. Everyone has learned to be grateful for everyday activities and social interactions, especially those at the end of their high school career. 

Senior Scarlet Frese concludes,“I think right now I’m just trying to focus on having as much fun as I can with these people and these directors and this school before it’s all gone.”

Sophomore Stella Hufford plays the flute at the Capital City Marching Festival. Photo by Morgan Eye.