The McNicholas High School Marching Band closed its 2015 in their final competition Nov. 7 at Norwood High School’s Shea Stadium.
At the Mid-States Band Association Class A Finals, twenty bands performed in a preliminary round. A panel of judges chose ten of the bands to compete in a final round later in the evening that determined the winner of the competition.
Although the Rocket Band did not place in the top ten, sophomore Lexi Gauger said the McNick Band had a great performance. “We had excellent scores in general effect, percussion, and visuals, but our music scores brought us down because our sound can’t compete with the sound of bands three times our size,” Gauger said.
This season’s show was titled “Viaje Muziki,” which is a combination of Portuguese and Swahili meaning “Travel Music.” Songs featured in the show include “Carnival de Soul,” “A Night in Tunisia,” “Spain,” and “I Wanna Be like You” from The Jungle Book, among others. Band Director Mr. Keith Nance put the music for the show together, and 2002 McNick graduate John Espy organized the visuals. “[We] always try to find something different so we’re not repeating ourselves,” Nance said about finding inspiration for and designing the show.
The band did not have an official color guard this year, but there was some flag work during the show. Four band members became the unofficial color guard, and junior Hannah Herforth said the flag work was actually a very small part of the show. “I believe that color guard, if done well and correctly, can greatly enhance a show. I think it can be more entertaining and it can help tell a story that a band may be trying to convey to the audience,” Herforth said.
Gauger said that the color guard scores were only ten points from the highest score in the finals, and that the band was proud of that considering that their flag work only lasted about a minute compared to having flag work throughout the entire show. Both Gauger and Herforth said that, in order for the scores to be better and to have an official color guard, more students need to commit in future years.
In addition to Nance and Espy, students have a hand in the show’s production other than simply performing. Senior band member Kyle Timmons is one of these people. Timmons is the active Drum Major/Field Commander, and in this position, he is responsible for starting practice on time, running through warm-ups and stretches, and raising spirits. He is essentially the go-to between the students and Nance. Timmons started his official role this season, but said he felt he had started transitioning into the role last year, giving him an easy adjustment this year.
According to Nance, Timmons is absolutely a positive for the band. “[He] leads by example,” Nance said. Timmons also said that he feels like he leads by being a positive role model.
Nance added, “It’s important that students take ownership. It’s their show; it’s their performance.” Nance explained that “they open themselves up for criticism, and when they’re in charge, it’s definitely a learning experience as well. It teaches teamwork and working together and being on task.”