RHS ECHO: Online student news

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RHS ECHO: Online student news

RHS ECHO: Online student news

BOA introduces new experiences for band students

Abigail Kestle

This is Rolla High School Marching Band’s first year as a Bands of America (BOA) band. Being a BOA band means they’re part of a more prestigious and respected group, but the title also comes with much more strict guidelines and ­­­­­­far more difficult competitions. One of the band’s highest-achieving flutists, senior Zoe Bristow, enjoys band life under the new rules.
“I think there’s ups and downs to both types of bands. I mean, this is a little more stressful, but I really liked it. [BOA] is more serious, too, but it’s also more enjoyable,” said Bristow. “I think it’s really cool to be doing more complex things than we were doing before. The band directors are definitely making more of an effort this year with time management and more structured sectionals practice sessions.”
Sophomore Allainya Gehlert, a clarinet player, has beliefs about what prompted several other changes this year.
“We have a new drill writer this year, and since we have new music, the band directors feel really confident in us. We have a bunch of new freshmen and so far we’ve made really good progress. Over eighty percent of us have a whole first part of the show memorized, and we’re already working on our second movement of drill. The first movement has been memorized: visual effects and everything,” said Gehlert.
BOA has different regulations and for Rolla, that means changing parts of this year’s show.
“There’s no solid ‘movements’ like we’ve had in the past. It’s like as soon as one part is over they [drum majors] just keep conducting but it starts a new movement. I believe that there are five movements. It’s very fluid. As an audience member, you can tell when something new starts, but it’s not like everyone claps in between. It’s still just kind of smooth all the way through,” said Gehlert.
New additions to practice sessions aren’t the only difference when preparing for this new type of competition. Junior Sedona Adamson is working to fulfill the new BOA rules regarding props.
“Since we are now BOA and going to a BOA competition, we have new guidelines to follow,” explained Adamson. “One of the guidelines being that we are not allowed to have any adults help us get props or front ensemble onto the field. This is different from other years so it is an adjustment, but I think it will look better in the show if we are the ones moving the props, especially with our props this year.”
Despite its drawbacks, BOA also has its little perks, including the thrill of higher stakes.
“BOA is a whole new level of marching. I know last year they competed with people from different states like Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, etc. This year we’ll be performing at the Dome in St. Louis. So there will be 1000 bands there. It’s a two day competition, so it will be different, but a very good difference. You know, I really think we could use this experience and learn from this,” predicted Gehlert.

Any band may register and pay the entry fee to perform in a BOA competition. There will be 66 bands at the St. Louis super regional competition on Oct. 27 and 28 in the Dome at The America Center. There will be bands from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The RHS band is set to perform on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 11:00 a.m.

This increased number of bands that upperclassmen have never watched before is an advantage to the BOA association.

“I’m really most excited to see what other shows and what other techniques other schools have. If they have a bunch of schools, they may have really good footwork, or they may have some really cool visuals. And so then in the future, I can see what they do and think hey, you know, this would be really good for our section. You know, we could do this for our next movement in later shows. So I’m very excited about that and then just getting to meet new people and the experiences!” exclaimed Gehlert.
Although upgrading to a BOA band is a big step up for the RHS band program, it doesn’t mean the band students or their parents are less important to the success of the organization.
“Our band is paying for the prop materials, but they’re having our people build them. So you can buy premade props and everything, but it’s more expensive. So we just paid for the materials. They got a bunch of parents and advanced students to kind of volunteer,” said Bristow.
To pay for these props, students and parents are both necessary for sufficient financial support.
“The funding isn’t that different from last year,” stated Adamson, “Last year I think all we did for funding was a 50/50 raffle for all the home football games. This year we are planning to sell car magnets at the home football games along with the 50/50 raffle like we did last year. A lot of different things get donated from the public and from band parents so it’s hard to list them all.”
Despite the new challenges, band students remain excited for the upcoming year’s activities.
“Learning all this is a lot of pressure on everyone, especially the freshmen. But right now, they’re working really well under pressure. If it was my freshman year I would be very intimidated, but that’s just me. All of them so far are doing a great job,” praised Gehlert. “So I’m really excited! All the section leaders are doing amazing, and I’m really happy for the color guard. They’re doing phenomenal, and the band directors are so much fun to work with. So I’m very excited for this year. We’re going to do great!”

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About the Contributors
Eleanor Schott, Online Copy Editor
Hello, I’m Eleanor and I’m a junior. This is my second year on ECHO. Some of my hobbies are logic puzzles, horseback riding, and tree climbing.
Abigail Kestle, Sports Editor
Hi, I’m Abby Kestle. This is my second year as the sports editor of ECHO. I’m a senior and I participate in soccer, Society of Women Engineers, NHS, and more. I enjoy photography, listening to music, and watching sports.