More than a marching band

The+Marching+Blue+%26+Gold+has+practice+day+and+night+to+perfect+their+crafts%2C+and+their+performance+technique.+

Isabella Zinchini

The Marching Blue & Gold has practice day and night to perfect their crafts, and their performance technique.

The WHHS Marching Blue and Gold has adapted to many things throughout the past couple of years. They were not only forced to adapt to COVID-19 protocols after spending a year in quarantine, but the biggest thing is that they weren’t able to perform.

The band has been a part of the WHHS community for many years, and their hard work and dedication has led them to win many competitions and entertain the crowds during the WHHS football games.

Similar to other WHHS sports, the pandemic had a major impact on how, where and when they could perform. Members of the marching band however did not let COVID-19 stop them from perfecting their craft.

Marching band member Jonathan Moody, ‘24 prepared in different ways during quarantine. “I practiced in my basement for a while and eventually started practicing in my room standing up,” Moody said.

The few times they were able to perform last year, they were more of what the directors refer to as a “standing band” where they stood and played yards apart during halftime.

“We started late so we couldn’t really do too much anyway, and then by the time we could, we basically just stood yard lines apart across the field,” Band Director Richard Canter said.

As students enter into the 2021-22 school year, many of the marching band and color guard members look forward to what is to come this year. They also look back on the impact that quarantine had on them and some of their fellow band members.

WHHS marching band in their summer uniform at the first performance of the season. (Photo Courtesy of: Bengy Mitchell)

To get back into their natural rhythm , the marching band started back with band camp a few weeks before school started. The first to be at the camp were the leadership group of students where they trained and prepared with directors for what was to come for this year.

During early August, the band spent hours at band camp in different kinds of intense weather conditions in preparation for competitions and halftime performances.

Then in addition to the leaders, new marchers from this year and last year were brought into the band camp. They worked with the leaders on how to march and other basic skills.

The rest of the band members also joined band camp where they practiced for hours on the field preparing for their season.

“These new marchers make up 70% of the marching band,” Canter said. These new marchers include those from last year who were not able to march regularly during last fall season.

The band camp lasted around two weeks starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. on the longer days. Marching band members practiced and perfected their craft throughout band camp to prepare for this year’s performances.

I definitely felt sad we couldn’t perform because I love performing within the marching band”

— Julia DiBenedetto

Band camp was a success and many of the members were ready to perform for the first WHHS football game against Aiken High School. However, due to director Canter having to quarantine, they had a minor setback.

After waiting a week, the marching band was excited to get back on the field to see the crowd’s smiling faces again. They practiced before the WHHS v. Withrow game on the field, but were forced to go inside due to bad weather conditions. After a long wait, it was finally decided that the marching band had to wait one more week to finally perform again.

Though many of the members were bummed that they wouldn’t be able to perform, marching band member Julia DiBenedetto was more optimistic.

The Marching Blue & Gold has not only learned and became better as a team they also have become better individually this year. Their hard work has led them to win a superior rating at the OMEA State Finals this year. (Sydnie Barrett)

“I definitely felt sad we couldn’t perform because I love performing within the marching band, but I also felt a little bit grateful because I feel like even now we are not entirely ready to perform,” DiBenedetto said.

Though the marching band was forced to sit out one more week, they still held their excitement and practice for the first performance. They would perform at the WHHS v. Milford game for their first marching performance of the 2021-2022 season.

Their successful performance during the WHHS football game would not only be a look into what is to come for this season but also for the things they may need to work on.

After a few weeks of practice and perfecting, the WHHS Marching Band participated in the Norwood Invitational-OMEA Contest on Oct. 2, at Shea Stadium where they placed second all around. Their superior rating would ensure their participation at states this year.

I practiced in my basement for a while and eventually started practicing in my room standing up”

— Jonathan Moody

As the Marching Blue & Gold progresses throughout the year, SENIOR band captain Mohammad Kassemem braces the team’s accomplishments and how they’ve gotten better. “People’s attention to detail and focus has gotten a lot better,” Kassem said. The marching band is starting to prepare for the OMEA State Finals with new visuals and cleaning up their performance technique.

The closing of the season, the Marching Blue & Gold brought home an overall superior rating from the OMEA State Finals; they also received a superior rating in every category and got a score of 1.