Well into their third season, the NS marching band is competing like they never have before. For the first time, 41 NS students competing against other schools in marching band competitions.
“[The first year] was just getting something on the field so people knew what we were talking about when we talk about marching band,” said band teacher, Timothy Kidder. “[Last year] we were trying to build fundamentals and get some experience. This year is building off of that and bringing it to a new level.”
This new level has brought them to multiple competitions where they compete against all sizes of schools. Unlike most sports, marching band competes based on the size of the band, not the size of the school. NS falls under the 1A division with 45 marchers or less. This means the band can compete against 1A to 5A schools.
“It’s been really interesting to see how we stack up against programs that are a lot bigger that are drawing from a lot bigger overall band program,” Kidder said. “Some of these programs have a lot of money and they put a lot of money into their equipment and into their props and different things and yet…we’re actually outscoring some of those bigger schools that have put forth a lot of money.”
Kidder credits the students in the program for the results.
“Marching band’s kind of a dual problem because, on one hand, you have music so we’re doing musical rehearsals…but there’s also the visual aspect… Perfection is our goal and excellence will be tolerated,” Kidder said.
With practices twice a week and such a young program, the marchers and color guard work hard to make their show the best it can be.
“We do a lot of cleaning [in practice]. We’ll make sure that there are no big mistakes in the way that forms are dressed or in the way that horn angles are or the way that it sounds,” said drum major Abraham Bunting.
As drum major, Bunting helps the band keep time and helps clean up the performance during practices.
“I’m the dude that stands on top of the podium and pretends that he’s important,” Bunting said. “I wave my arms around and keep time. I’m basically an oversized metronome.”
Despite the practicing, any program as young as the NS marching band faces challenges. One of these challenges being the change from non-competing to competing.
“Setting up the competition and getting ready for those it’s a different process than last year when we were just marching at halftime at football games,” Kidder said. “We could just kind of focus in on that two-and-a-half-minute performance instead of putting the whole eight minutes together.”
Another challenge the marching band has faced their past two seasons was a lack of uniforms. This season, that problem was solved by seeking help from the district to cover uniform costs.
“It ended up that [the district] raised all the money for the uniforms and the district didn’t actually have to put forth any money for uniforms for marching band,” Kidder said.
The new uniforms not only help the band compete, but helped kick start the program.
“The uniforms have helped a lot just in terms of an established program because when we’re marching around in our shirts we can say that we’re in marching band but once we have the uniforms we look like a marching band so we feel like a marching band,” Bunting said.
With the help of the uniforms, the marching band has been able to compete and place in various competitions.
“Our first competition was a few weeks ago and we took 7th place which we thought was quite good, considering we beat out five established programs,” Bunting said.
With such a positive beginning to their season, the marching band is looking forward to future competitions.
“From now until the end of the season we want to continually improve and getting better scores,” Kidder said. “[October 11] we were able to outscore ourselves from the first competition. If we continue doing that then we’ll be at a really good place by the state championship.”
The band is also planning for the next few years, hoping to keep the program running and improving.
“We want kids that are doing this tor three or four years so they have experience and can become leaders on the field,” Kidder said. “We want to grow and get as many people involved in marching band as possible.”
Despite any limitations or setbacks, the marching band has a positive outlook for the rest of their season.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” Bunting said. “Obviously we’re not perfect and we’re not going to be perfect, but I think that we’ve done a very good job and that we’ve done great things and will continue to do great things.”