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The Marching Crimsons have left the building: A tribute to the King

Hannah Preston, Staff Writer

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Marching band

As the seasons begin to shift, another only increases in extremity:  the Marching Crimsons are hard at work at the peak of their season.

Although the time frame lasts from July until the end of October, the marching band is busy every second.  In the midst of practices, football games, marching competitions, and parade performances, there is much to be adjusted and changed to improve the overall outcome.

Director Matt Johnson has high hopes for his students this year.  “I think we are off to a great start.  Things have been going well with our Elvis-themed show.  I am looking forward to getting all of our visuals in and watching how far we can go.”

Many of the students have similar opinions.  An increase in numbers as well as in sound and marching quality has given the band a much needed ego-boost compared to previous years where much was left to be desired.  As a result of this factor, the progress that has been made this year is only amplified in the minds of the upperclassmen.

“Things are going much better than they have in previous years,” says senior Katie Davidsmeyer.  “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

But the experienced players are not the only ones reaping the benefits of the improvements. “I think things are going well.  We definitely need some improvement, but I am really happy with where things are heading,” says freshman Liddy Weber.  “I hope the audience realizes how much hard work goes into the performance.”

With several weeks left to go before the Marching Crimsons call it quits for the season, there is still a lot to prepare for.  The individual pressure and dedication only rises from this point on. “Each and every one of the members are critical to the big picture,” says Johnson.  “We still have a few things to work on, and if we can improve in those areas, we will be very competitive no matter where we go.”

These improvements, the band is finding out, are easier said than done.  After months of running the same show (and the same errors), it is hard to make adjustments.  This calls for lots of attention and precision at each practice and performance.

“Contrary to popular belief, band is actually a lot of hard work.  It makes me feel good knowing that we can all come together and work hard to accomplish things,” states senior Hayley Rockwell.  “As drum major, my personal goal is to push everyone to be the best that they can be.”

The extra attention to detail is exactly what is needed to weed out the tiny mistakes that can add up to enormous point deductions.  However, the biggest part about the performance is the general effect that it leaves on the audience.  “Mistakes are going to be made in life.  There are so many notes and steps, so if you miss one, it’s not a big deal,” says Davidsmeyer.

In addition to the fond memories, these young musicians are taking many things away from this experience, including many lessons.  “Teamwork [is the most important lesson of marching band].  We will go nowhere unless we do it together,” senior Genna Fanning states.  “There are always times when people can try harder.  We should all perform in a way that when we are done, there was nothing left to do:  no holding back or regrets.”

With only days left to make a final, lasting impression until next year, the Marching Crimsons are set on showing off everything, and in order to do this, each and every member has to do his part.  “When someone gives less than their best then there is no way to judge what we can achieve as a band,” concludes Johnson.  “I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year.  I hope our audience will enjoy each performance and appreciate how hard the students have worked to put on such a performance.”

The success of the work so far has been noted in higher placements in competitions, the Marching Crimsons earning a second and a third place trophy.

Next time you find yourself at a Jacksonville High School football game, stick around for the halftime show.  You may enjoy what you find.

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The Marching Crimsons have left the building: A tribute to the King