As the season ended and all of their hard work paid off, they celebrated their accomplishments and each other. Marching Band Awards Night was filled with food and laughter, the Commons felt light and happy, like nothing could ruin the night. Having just finished an award-winning season and looking to celebrate the season’s accomplishments, students, parents, and teachers swarmed the Commons on October 30th for Marching Band Awards Night.
East’s marching band program finished its best season yet, according to senior drum major Yori Awoyade, placing second place overall for both competitions at Pontiac High School on September 21st and DeKalb High School on September 28th.
Over the course of the evening, each of the marching band’s members were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the program. Over the course of the entire season, the program brought back additional awards and accolades, including second in their class and second overall at both competitions. For their first competition, they won first in both percussion and winds.
“All the other three years we never placed … so the fact that I contributed to something and we won stuff was really great,” Awoyade said.
Music teacher and band director Kelly Cooper said that the students were excited for Marching Band Awards Night this year, as they did well in the competitions.
“We’ve improved with every performance and the students are trying really hard at every rehearsal. Everytime they did a football game or a competition, they’ve been really responsive and respectful of each other and of the staff. They kept getting better. It’s been an honor to lead the group,” Cooper said.
A lot of hard work and discipline went into their rehearsals. As stated by senior William McKeown-Robbie, they prepared for competitions by rehearsing for five hours a week and one hour before a competition. Every week they would review the same pieces over and over again leading up to competitions.
To acknowledge all the marching band members, first there was a slideshow that showed all the fond memories that were made throughout the season.
Then each student received an award. Every member received a medal, the section and squad leaders received a small trophy as well, and the drum majors received a bigger trophy recognizing their leadership during the performances.
Through all the hard work and long practices, the awardees said they formed a community where they felt at home and accepted.
“I think marching band is the single most important thing that has shaped me into who I am throughout high school,” McKeown-Robbie said.
McKeown-Robbie added that, through the band, he made countless close friends and experienced many highlights in his high school career. His father, Matt Robbie, said that he and his wife were aware of that and were very proud of their son for his achievements.
“[William’s] confidence has gone up, the number of friends and the quality of his friends has gotten better,” Robbie said.
Freshman Abigail Tapang, played trumpet and just finished her first season in marching band. By the time the season was over, she said she became more social and comfortable with herself.
“It’s given me a community where I’m supported by a bunch of people. Even if I don’t know them that well, it’s just like a big family and everyone’s really welcoming,” Tapang said.
Junior Madeline Sims was a section leader for the marching band. She has been involved in marching band since freshman year and looks forward to it every year. She even plans on continuing it in her senior year, too.
“I started [marching band] as a way to make more friends, and kind of get involved in school,” Sims said.
Sims said that her experiences in marching band have not only brought her friends, but taught her valuable qualities, as well.
“Marching band has made me a better leader, because being a junior, I know what I’m doing and since I’m section leader I try to teach other people how to do it,” Sims added.
Marching band has impacted McKeown-Robbie throughout his whole highschool career, he said that he wouldn’t be the same person he is now without his experiences in marching band.
“I don’t know who I’d be without this group because it’s something that is so influential to everyone involved…It’s something that changes people in such a positive way, both disciplinary and [socially]. Overall, it’s a great experience for everyone,” Mckeown-Robbie added.
Reann Salazar is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl