Cougar Pride Marching Band Ready for Sunday’s State Finals

Posted On: Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Cougar Pride Marching Band

Members of the Cougar Pride Marching Band spent some of Tuesday practicing for the state finals. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

 

History will be made at 4:45 Sunday afternoon at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium.

That’s when the Van Wert Cougar Pride Marching Band will compete in the Ohio Music Educators Association state finals for the first time ever. The band qualified for state at the Versailles Marching Band Invitational, held October 8. Since then, the band has been working feverishly to prepare for the next level, including “cleaning drill.”

“At the state level there’s even more attention paid to detail, so when we’re cleaning drill, we’re checking to make sure people are in step, that they’re getting to the right spot at the right time and that there’s just as much energy in the performance visually as there is musically,” assistant band director Scott Turner said.

Turner also noted that Chad Clum, who has served as a clinician for a number of marching bands around Ohio, has been has been helping with the visual aspect of the upcoming performance.

It isn’t a matter of walking off the bus and marching onto the field. The entire show is a production and Matt Saunier has had a big hand in that part of it, including the sound system, design, props and ensuring everything gets from Point A to B.

“It’s like a theatrical show,” Saunier said. “You have all of the elements to make the show work and so you have to have the crew that goes behind the scenes and sets everything up and make sure everything works.”

“I’m looking forward to Sunday,” he added. “I think I’m most excited to be able to show off what we do because our season isn’t just from July to November. Even now we’re talking about what we’re going to do next year.”

 

Mackenzie Jones and Ashlyn Stoller are Van Wert’s field commanders.

 

A key part of the performance will be the band’s two field commanders, senior Mackenzie Jones and junior Ashlyn Stoller, who will split handling Sunday’s show.

Jones is a second year field commander and plays the alto saxophone and explained that during the summer, field commanders learn all the music and practice the technique on how to conduct, including practicing on the ladder to conquer any possible fear of heights. She also said duties grow during the course of the season.

“If we’re confident the band will be confident, so it’s kind of similar to a football game but not because the people who are in the audience are there to watch us and not the football game,” Jones said. “I’m confident in the band and I’m confident in Ashlyn and myself that we can do everything to the best of our ability.”

“I definitely think I’m more excited than nervous just because I like new experiences,” Stoller said. “There is an aspect that I’m a little bit nervous just because we’ve never performed at the state level before but at the same time it’s same exact performance, the same exact music, so there is a similarity in it. It’s just somewhere new.”

The band will march onto the turf at 4:45 will allotted 15 minutes.

“We get about two minutes to set everything up and the performance has to be between six and a half and 11 minutes, and our show is about seven minutes,” band director Bob Sloan said. “Regulations – you can’t go too short and you can’t go too long and then we’ll have about four minutes to pack it all up at the end.”

Sloan also said a panel of six judges, made up of current and retired band directors, from around the state will decide how the band fared once the performance is complete.

 

Article courtesy of the VW Independent.





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