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Accepting the New and A-band-oning the Old

The band department adjusts to changes and a new regime; more practices mean treble for some

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Accepting the New and A-band-oning the Old

Marching band performs during halftime

Marching band performs during halftime

Marching band performs during halftime

Marching band performs during halftime

Hope Stratman, Copy Editor

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You’ve seen them during half-time in forest green and black uniforms, rocking giant plumes. You’ve seen them jamming at pep rallies, bobbing their heads along with the music. You might have even seen them in the music room, their home away from home, practicing for a concert.

Yup, you guessed it – band.

It’s nearly impossible to miss this group marching onto the field or playing pump-up jams for sporting events, but some aspects of band are less obvious to the casual observer. In fact, the program has undergone significant changes in the past couple years, and most of the Skutt Catholic populus is unaware.

The arrival of band teacher Chris Cotignola brought pivotal changes to the department. Before Cotignola began teaching, the band did not compete in marching band competitions; in 2014, however, he decided that this was a step that the band should take. Band kids have really taken to this change, and last year, in what was only their second competitive season, the group won state marching band.

This win’s effects stretched beyond a trophy and bragging rights. “I believe ever since we won state championships and beat two AA bands, we have been pushed harder to achieve our goals,” says junior trumpet player Meredith Ollerich. Recently, new practice regimes and policies have been put into place by Cotignola in order to keep players in peak condition.

In the 2015-2016 school year, band began having morning practices one day a week. This year, that number was doubled. “Learning a competitive marching band show takes a lot of time,” says Band Director Chris Cotignola, “And having two mornings a week where we can rehearse on the field for an hour and a half is definitely going to help us look and sound better.” Band members are spending about eight to ten hours a week on various band activities this year; the group now meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:45 a.m. as well as every Thursday evening. The morning practices last until the end of first hour, which is band class.

In fact, a new policy was recently put into place regarding band class. Starting at the beginning of this year (2016-2017), anyone wishing to play in concert band, pep band, or marching band (unless he/she plays guitar or piano/synthesizer) is required to take band class; also, everyone in band class is required to play in concert, pep, and marching band. Essentially, this means that those who want to play in any of these three types of band are required to take the class and to participate in the other types.

These changes have been met with varying reactions by band members. Some have reacted positively to the changes and to the increased amount of practices. “Yes, rehearsals are time consuming and tiring,” says junior Drum Major Jet Paranoble, “But nothing beats the feeling of marching in unison on the turf field with your friends.”

However, some band members are concerned about the amount of time these new band expectations require. “Because we practice more and we now have to participate in concert, marching, and pep,” says junior percussionist Jared Baumert, “I have had a lot less free time and less of an ability to do other things in my life.” Sophomore percussionist Hailey Richstein has had similar experiences; “I’m losing sleep [because of band],” she says. Clearly, one substantial negative of this system is the amount of time and energy band now requires of its already busy members.

Only time will tell the long-term effects of these changes. Regardless of whether you consider the changes to be positive or negative, however, it seems that a new era for band has been ushered in. Fortunately, however, one thing seems to be remaining constant: band is still producing music just as beautifully, if not more so, than before.

 

Hope Stratman - Features Editor

Hope became a member of The Flightline in August of 2016. She is a senior this year involved in activities including Speech and FBLA. Outside of school, she enjoys lists, photography, and naming inanimate objects. You can email her at [email protected]

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