Band places in finals at first competition

Rhyse Holder

Lauren Ulrich, Editor In Chief

Eden Potter signals the beginning of the Rolla High School marching band’s show, “The Ascent,” with her opening notes. A hush falls over the crowd as a smooth melody emerges from the lone trumpet player on the field. Her notes are a sign of the beginning of the performance as heads perk up to see the football field transformed into the base of a mountain. The band is preparing to begin their journey climbing a mountain for their performance at the first competition of their 2019 season.

The band placed second in their division for the preliminary competition Saturday and eighth overall in finals. Potter shares the considerable amount of preparation that into the band’s first competition of the season at the Screamin’ Eagles marching band festival in Sullivan on September 28th. “Behind the scenes, we put in a lot of work. We had band camp for two weeks this summer and the minimum amount of hours we put in each day was six,” Potter said.

Now, they demonstrate their dedication by practicing every morning at 7 a.m. before school. This year’s show, however, is worth the work according to Potter.

“My favorite part about band is succeeding, but succeeding as a team because of all the hard work that we put in. You know that you can’t do it by yourself and you’re only as strong as your weakest link. When we can execute that kind of performance, you just know it’s because of everybody’s efforts and not just yours.”

The Rolla High School band is coming off of an undefeated season last year with their show “Building an Empire.” With expectations high, the band hopes to continue to impress this season with an entirely different style of performance. Potter explains how previous years’ shows had a clear plot, yet “The Ascent” is left open to interpretation.

“I enjoy the show theme. I think it’s a cool concept. I’m a little concerned on how people perceived the story. I’m not sure if they’re able to understand it, but I think that our visuals and our music help tell the story,” Potter said.

Potter also thinks the show’s technical and musical difficulty sets it apart from past shows. Although Potter enjoys its complexity, the show’s difficulty poses a challenge to Rolla’s large number of underclassmen in this year’s band.

“We have a very complex drill this season. It’s the most complex one I’ve ever marched,” Potter said. “I’m a little concerned for the music just because our band is so young this year, but overall I’m really excited for this year and I think it’s going to come together well.”

Although the band did not place as high as they are accustomed, Potter says she remains optimistic for the season and sees potential in the show. She explains how previous success can affect members’ attitudes towards the current season.

“Whenever you come off of an almost perfect season, some kids are going to get comfortable and others have never experienced a loss,” Potter said. “That can affect how much work they put in, but this season I think that we will be able to do just as well.”

Potter looks forward to continuing to improve their show and competing at the band’s next competition on October 5th in Washington. She shares that despite a perceived loss, the band’s characteristic work ethic holds true.

“I want people to know that our band is extremely successful and we work very hard and we’re really grateful that we have great band boosters and a great district that supports us,” Potter said. “We just want them to remember how much work it takes to perform at that kind of level and that we are not a band to be looked over just because we’re not from a big city.”