Marching band, color guard, dance prepare for entertainment, competition

Marching band members junior Gabby Porter, sophomore Nicole Jeffrey, freshman Ashlyn Laue and junior Darby Mostaffa wait patiently on the field to play “Go, Cats, Go!” at the Homecoming football game on Sept. 20. Their first competition will be Sept. 28 at Mount Vernon.

When the football team is not on the field, the marching band, color guard and dance team will take center stage.

The groups have been preparing for months to perform at their peak.  Color guard had a training camp July 15-19 for six hours and marching band attended camp July 29-Aug. 3 and Aug. 5-10. The Emerald Stars Dance Team had a week-long camp at the end of July to learn their choreography.

That dedication continued when school started as members of marching band and color guard are expected to attend a daily morning practice during the week from 6:45 to 7:30 and then practice through first period. They also have additional practice after school on certain days.

“I enjoy [color guard] practice. It does get challenging at times but if you practice more, you’ll be better on the field so it’s worth it,” junior Aerial Quigley said. “If you put in the practice and the effort you’ll do just fine.”

The Emerald Stars Dance team, which was created at the end of the 2018-19 school year, practices every Monday afternoon for an hour and a half. The dance team has three main dances, which they learned in a camp at the end of July, that they practice every week.

“Since we only practice on Mondays, we have to have a strict schedule and come in and work hard,” dance instructor Sarah Wright said. “Dancers are also expected to practice dances at home during the week to keep [the dances] fresh in their minds.”

“We have three different [dances] that we do and we’re going to do a different dance for each game that we do so it doesn’t get boring, like, we won’t do the same dance two games in a row,” junior dancer Haley Dwyer said.

As all three groups will be performing a pregame show, scheduling must be done to ensure that all performances can be completed by the time the game starts. Marching band will also be performing during halftime and also play in the pep band section during the home football games.

“We almost have it down to an estimated time, at 6:35, I think, is when the dance team performs and we step off for our parade lap at 6:45 and no later. It’s down to the minute when we do all these things at pregame,” band and color guard director Kristin Rode said.

Some students will pull double duty.

“I’ll perform with dance team and then as soon as I’m done with that I’ll go perform pregame with marching band and then, once the game starts, I’ll go switch out of my dance uniform into my marching band uniform and be with marching band the rest of the night,” senior dancer and flutist Becky Petesch said.

Marching band will be conducted by senior drum major Madeline Schockmann. Schockmann has been a member of marching band for all four years and is really excited to see how this year progresses and the theme: “Harry Potter.”

“For my entire marching career, like the first three years, [the theme] has been like a classical music kind of style, we didn’t really do music that we grew up with or music that we were excited for, so I think this year’s theme is really good for getting the band happy and excited for what we’re doing,” Schockmann said.

“Our theme this year is ‘Harry Potter,’ so we have to focus more on our movements than our face because it’s a [less serious] story. Usually, with our previous shows, you have to use your face to tell the story, but this year we’re not telling a story, it’s just ‘Harry Potter;’ it’s fun, it’s festive, so you’re smiling the whole time, you’re having a blast, it’s really cool,” Quigley said.

Dance team, marching band, and color guard made their debut during the Sept. 20 Homecoming game against the Sherwood Marksmen.

Both the band and dance team hope their shows were well received.

“I think, [when they first see us performing], people are going to be people and have stuff to say about it, but I think, for the most part, they’re going to have a positive reaction because it’s just fun. I don’t think we’re anything to laugh at,” Dwyer said of the dance team.

“Now that we’re playing some music that the majority of the audience will recognize as ‘Harry Potter,’ I think it will have a really good outcome,” Rode said.

However, all the groups are more than just entertainment as they have plans to compete later in the year.

“We will have different [marching band and color guard] competitions throughout the season and I’m hopeful that it will go really well, but you never know. I’m hoping to go up from last year and hopefully bring home some trophies,” Petesch said.

The first marching band contest will be at Mt. Vernon on Sept. 28.

“We are planning to do at least one competition this season,” Wright said. “I am currently looking through our options and hope to pick one very soon.”

“Once we start doing competitions and really starting to get into the gist of the season, that will start to spark some more excitement and willingness to work,” Rode said, “but, by the end of the season, I just want to be able to say that we’ve improved in our abilities.”