Diary of a Band Geek : Nationals Here We Are!

This Lakers take on BOA Grand Nationals

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By: Moriah Rutherford

This the West Bloomfield Marching Band working hard to perfect this year’s show, Venezia. This year West Bloomfield finished 8th in the state, compared to the 9th place streak, that they have had for the last few years and had a great competitive season. As a band they had been working very hard to balance their academic lives with their competitive activity. If someone were to walk into the band room an hour before practice, that person would see musical instruments and backpacks surrounding students who have chemistry notes on one side and Drill cards on the other. As a member of the Marching Band, you are expected to balance school, band and other activities. Riley Grossman, (Junior) says that, “It can get a bit stressful, but in the end it’s all worth it”.
The week before a big competition is always a bit hectic. The band members are all trying to make sure that they remember the last minute changes and what they had worked on since June. All of our music, drill and choreography must be memorized so that the show runs smoothly on the field, but the Lakers knows how to work together to achieve excellence Drum Major Herschel Satam, (Senior) said that, “The band is one big family. We only have 75 or so people compared to some other bands who have 150 to 200 people. The difference with 200 people is that it’s really difficult to get close with everybody where as I feel like I’m personally connected with nearly every single person in the band, and that really helps bring out a lot of energy and excitement during rehearsal. This helps make us better at everything we intend to do”. Marching Band is a numbers game, when it comes to size and scores coming down to hundredths of a point, but smaller bands have an advantage when it comes to bonding and getting each other excited before shows.
Drum major Aiden Bryce, (Junior) said, “We have such a large diverse crowd of students and when you take that many people from such diverse backgrounds and put them together, you’re bound to get some great qualities from countless aspects … you’re basically making a collage of the best things this school has.” This diversity leads to a range of skills being brought on the field that makes our band truly unique.

The members of the Marching Band were excited and scared to put their show on a National stage The band is on the smaller smaller side on a national scale. But the band has grown substantially since their drum majors joined. Herschel went on to say, “I joined back in 2011, that was back when we had over 100 people and were qualifying top 5 in the state. But then we had this really big regression from 2012 to 2013. I think that from 2013 to now we have grown a lot, both in our skill and in enthusiasm for band.”  Bryce followed“ When I joined we were struggling to barely make states. So from a placement point, we’ve grown quite a lot. We’ve also become more focused in general and the band is now a kinder and more caring place that is way more accepting.” Band director, Mr. Mielens, shed some light on this subject, “ We’ve gone up at state finals from 12th place to 9th place to 8th place, and last year we saw a major enrollment increase. The color guard went from having no Winter Guard to having now 3 Programs: Varsity, JV, and the Elementary Guard. The Drumline has won a state championship and we’re returning to Bands of America which we haven’t done since 2011. Looking at all of those things, the band is going in the right direction and setting a standard of excellence through different competitions and experiences. The program is forming its own identity through those experiences and I’m proud of what we have done as a group.” The Marching Band travelled over 300 miles to get to Lucas Oil stadium in Indianapolis.
The band began with a 7am -11:30am rehearsal and took the field at 12:45 pm. After their full run, they met some of the members of the North Colony Marching Band from Colony Alaska, who showed their support for the West Bloomfield band with their hand made signs. This kind of comradery is what makes these kinds of trips special.
At the first awards ceremony, the entire marching band was saddened to know that they in fact did not make semi-finals. Despite not advancing, this did not dampen their wonderful season filled with good friends and excellent instructors there to support each other through good times and bad.
The marching band season never truly ends. Winter Percussion and Winter Guard are starting. One inevitable end though is for the seniors, who are reluctantly packing up their shakos for the final time. The beauty of Marching Band is it helps you prepare for life in many different ways. Bryce said “ As a leader I’ve seen what you have to do to make kids happy, who you need to listen to, what you need to do to be respected. Working with others is something that is vital in life. And nothing teaches that quite like marching band. Especially when you put a bunch of socially awkward kids together, it’s actually pretty great.” Members of the marching band become apart of the weirdest, most unconventional family that supports each other. They become part of a national family of people who love what they do and look great while doing it. At the end of the day, they will always have the Marching Band to call family. MarchingbandelianaMarchingbandcommmandJewelEvans