Marching band earns ‘I’ rating for marching, drumline

A vital characteristic of the high school’s home athletic meets is the marching band and drumline. Both the marching band and drumline perform primarily at home athletic meets and at school pep assemblies. Although, these two musical teams occasionally get the opportunity to perform in a format that is designed to provide constructive criticism to the bands. Such was the case at the Southern Plains Marching Festival.
The Southern Plains Marching Festival takes place each year, this year in Andover KS. This is a festival in which many school’s marching bands and drumlines attend for the sake of receiving valuable criticism on their musical performance and marching capabilities.
“The Southern Plains Marching Festival in Andover is usually our grand finale, as 30 high school marching bands come together to perform their shows for each other and a panel of judges,” Newton Director of Bands Greg Bergman said.
The Newton bands feel as if they were adequately prepared and confident for this performance, and the ratings they received from the judging panel reflects that.
“The NHS band did very well at the festival, earning Division 1 “Superior” ratings from all three music judges, plus an “Outstanding Drumline” (Division 1+) award from the percussion judge,” Bergman said.
As with any form of competition in life, success in a band can be attributed to hard work and dedication. Newton marching band members got an early start to their practice to ensure that they could be as prepared as possible.
“Our preparation began in May when students received sheet music for the halftime show. This gives them something to practice off and on over the summer. Mr. Ives had optional rehearsals at school on Tuesdays throughout summer,” Bergman said. “We all got together for a mini camp for three evenings a week before school started in August. This is an important head start.”
There was inclement weather on the day of the festival, so rather being held outside like the festival traditionally is, bands performed inside. This prohibited the bands from being able to march because of a lack of space.
“Due to the cold, windy and snowy conditions on Oct. 30, this year’s event was held indoors at the Wichita Sports Forum. Nineteen bands still participated, though no marching was involved,” Bergman said.
Some band members believe not having to march helped their rating some, even though Newton received similar scores as they did in previous years.
“Because our band focuses more on the music we play instead of marching, we did better than we expected considering the circumstances. Not having to march helped us out a good amount,” senior trumpet player Erik Jantz said.
Both band director Mr. Bergman, as well as members of the marching band and drumline, believe they deserved the rating they got, and are content with their performance.
“Right after our performance, I felt like we didn’t really do that great, but I think that’s just me being my own harshest critic, but it actually sounded really good when we listened to a recording of it later,” Jantz said.