The students and their willingness to work and to trust the process and their instructional staff made the season successful. In regards to tangible and external measures of success, we earned many awards that helped to verify that we are moving in the right direction as performers, in relationship to the process and the program,” Anderson said. “Equal measures of credit need to be given to the school district, the community, the band parents, the students, the design staff (Dan Duffield, Adam Nelson, and Del Duke), the instructional staff (Johnathan Rogers and Andy Edelen), our adjudicators and clinicians.”
“It’s a great group of kids this year,” Rogers added. “They work well together, they blend personality-wise, they communicate effectively with each other, had awesome willpower and wanted to succeed this year. They just went out there and got the job done.”
It’s a long grueling season that begins in mid-July with band camp. In addition to rehearsal at school, band members are expected to dedicate hours of their own time to practice the music and choreography of an eight-minute routine.
“These kids work hard. It takes dedication, time, and practice, just like any athletic sport,” Rogers said. The kids have to memorize eight minutes of music, which doesn’t sound like a long time, but there’s a whole lot of notes that happen in eight minutes, and a whole lot of different rhythms that go with them, and articulations and dynamics and intonation, all while they remember where they’re moving on the field.”
Anderson, Rogers and Edelen hope to build on this year’s success, and are already planning for next year.
“As more students experience increasingly higher levels of performance, they will understand the type of work that is required and that will in turn build a culture of excellence and high expectations,” Anderson said. “We start each season with four goals - to make sure every student learns, has fun, creates memories and develops long lasting friendships. As more of our students do that, we will know that they have had a positively life-changing experience. I want that for every kid. Hopefully more families will want that for their children and more students will recognize what that will mean for themselves and will join our marching band.”
Everyone involved in marching band will attest to the fact that the activity takes long hours, unparalleled dedication and much hard work, all for little recognition and no opportunities for time-outs or do-overs. Students perform through illness, twisted ankles, hurt knees and all sorts of injuries with no opportunity to call in a sub because the show must go on and they are an integral part of the show.
“After the performance is over, not one performer will have their name in the paper or get special recognition for their outstanding performance. Band is a team activity; everyone works hard, day in and day out, for the team and not for their own edification,” Anderson added. “What all marching band kids have in common is a self-sacrificing commitment to something larger than themselves. Truly, marching band is a laboratory to create the type of people we need to make our world a better place. Seeing them cheer for other bands (their competitors), recognize and celebrate the success of others, to hear and respond favorably to feedback for improvement, to diligently work, to collaborate and to commit to a group and a purpose bigger than themselves are all important 21st century skills.”
Senior Spotlight: HCHS Marching Band
Name: Will Whitt, drum major
Experience with band: Began playing saxophone in fourth grade, took band in sixth grade at HCMS, joined marching band in seventh grade and been a member since.
Instruments played: Saxophone (primary), piano and guitar
Future plans: Attend college to major in musical performance or music education. Would love to play sax in a pit orchestra for Broadway musicals.
Thank you’s: Mr. Anderson, Mr. Edelen and Mr. Rogers - all three of them together bounce ideas off each other and put their heads together to make sure we have the best material presented to us and provide the best instruction to us that is possible. And our amazing band parents.
Favorite Memory: The loud band bus - lots of loud singing and lots of fun.
Will Whitt’s Words of Wisdom: From my sappy Instagram post, ‘Take pride in the hard work you do.’ A lot of times, we may think, ‘Oh we’re just Henry County,’ but we’ve eliminated that phrase from our program, but sometimes that feeling is still there. We’re not “just” Henry County – so take pride in the hard work you do in the years to come.
Reflecting on his high school band career
“Marching band is not for everyone,” Whitt said. “It is for people who are not afraid to put in the work. People who want to make friends. People who want to make memories. People that want to make music. To be successful takes a lot of work, so people who join band should definitely be prepared to put in the work.”
Whitt said that having served as drum major for two years now taught him the importance of leadership, alongside his role as the conductor on the field.
“It’s about making sure people get along and are making friends, keeping people happy and positive, encouraging and complimenting people on their efforts,” Whitt said. “This year, there’s been no drama really and that made us better as a group just because we got along. Also, some of the members got better instruments and some students took private lessons, so some technical aspects helped us improve, but I think the biggest thing is that we acted as a team better.”
Whitt also acknowledges that band doesn’t always get the same level of recognition as other school activities.
“I think the band is there to support a lot of other groups – that’s what people see of us if they don’t know about or go to our competitions. I guess it would be nice if we were supported every once in a while,” Whitt said. “It can be discouraging sometimes when we don’t get that support. Sometimes maybe just a thank you – that would definitely improve our morale. We don’t necessarily want you to drive to Louisville to watch a marching band competition, because we know that that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but yeah, a ‘thanks for being here’ would go a long way.”