Year in Review: Marching Band

Nik Popli, Managing Editor

“Band Ten Hut!”

Students warm up in one corner of the parking lot next to Langley High School, led by their classmates as they prepare for the next marching competition. The sound of trumpets and drum rolls reflect off the side of the school on a crisp autumn day, while a crowd of students waving colorful flags stand in formation.

The Langley Marching Saxons are in the midst of another late Tuesday afternoon rehearsal, the first of two scheduled for the week. Students began filing into the band room right after school ended and stayed until 5:00 in the evening.

“I love being in the marching band,” trombone player Brandon Engel said. “I feel like it’s an amazing team bonding experience, even better than some of the sports that I did when I was younger.”

The Saxons are coming off a highly successful showing at the U.S. Bands Marine Corps Invitational in Annapolis, Md., on Oct. 1, winning the First Place award for Best General Effect. It is the very first time in school history that the Langley marching ensemble has won a competition, and they did so despite performing in bad weather conditions.

“The band’s first ever victory excited all of us and all of our hard work paid off that day,” trumpet player Patrick Corrigan, a sophomore at Langley, said. “It was raining, and the field was super wet, but we still did our show the best we could.”

Even though the marching band has only attended four competitions, the school is making great strides in boosting its music program — doubling its total enrollment in the last five years.

“Being recognized for the first time is a huge honor,” said Lauren LaTeef, senior Drum Major. “It’s really satisfying knowing all the recognition we can get if we do well.”

Equally satisfying for many of the members was the adrenaline rush of performing in one of America’s biggest college football stadiums.

“Walking into the Navy Stadium was an amazing feeling,” said LaTeef. “It was huge, but also a little ominous because of how famous it is.”

Many members in the marching band were initially surprised that they won the award for Best General Effect in their class, given to the team displaying the most effective and entertaining program. “As marchers, we personally did not think that we did that well due to the rain, but that was really only because we have such high expectations of ourselves,” said sophomore marcher Rehan Javaid. “But when we watched the video, we actually did quite well.”

According to LaTeef, the band did not get to use their tarp, certain color guard material, and added sound effects such as a piano and bass due to the rain.

“It was really wet and miserable,” she said. The band had to perform with an inch of rain on the field, something that the team had never experienced in rehearsals.

“That performance [at Navy Stadium] doesn’t exist in isolation,” said Mr. Doug Martin, Director of Langley Bands. “It’s a part of a long-term process that takes place over the entire fall season, and you could even say it’s taken place over years.” When Mr. Martin came to Langley five years ago, the marching band “didn’t even have full uniforms or other necessary components in place to get to where we are now.”

“We just want to be the best we can be,” said Engel. “To put on a show that we would want to perform, that’s all that matters.”

 

*This article was originally featured in the November 2016 Issue of The Saxon Scope