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The Band to Beat

Blue and White Vanguard members share their competition triumphs.

Photo+by+Kaley+Hamilton
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The Band to Beat

Photo by Kaley Hamilton

Photo by Kaley Hamilton

Photo by Kaley Hamilton

Photo by Kaley Hamilton

Alyah Craig

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Imagine the color guard’s bright flags twirling through the air as the drumline maintains a steady beat to guide the rest of the noisy instruments. All of this, but in a competition setting, describes LHS’s newest addition to the band department called Blue and White Vanguard. On October 20, they placed first in their division in multiple categories and hope to continue this winning streak into next year’s ensemble.

“We wanted to provide opportunities for students that gave them options,” band director Eddie Owen said. “Some students really love the competitive aspect

of marching band, and want to come early, learn music that is very challenging, and also ‘step up their game’ with others of like mind.”

With the division of marching band in two, there are bound to be some differences in the preparation and amount of time dedicated by each member. However for freshman Abbie Pitchell the change is welcome.

“It’s more challenging than regular band and I love to challenge myself,” Pitchell said. “Being in Blue and White Vanguard is more advanced because we have more drills and sets to memorize along with faster and harder music.”

The sole purpose of creating Blue and White Vanguard is to cater more towards those competition oriented. It is a combination of color guards exotic movements, drumline consistent beat, and many other instruments as they work together to put on a worthy performance. In light of this, their recent standings at multiple invitationals, such as first and second in different categories, have improved from before this change.

“We definitely went to more competitions that challenged us this year,” junior Tessa Bigses said. “I think we used to go to competitions that played more towards our strengths. Now we were really able to see the bands that went above and beyond and are very talented. These competitions showed us how far we can go.”

This is Bisges’ second year on color guard and she knows the feeling of being scrutinized under a watchful eye. While Vanguard is performing, judges walk around the field in close proximity with the band.

“It’s really scary because you’ll be doing something and they’ll be standing in front of you while making eye contact,” Bisges said. “It can be intimidating but it’s also a way to show to the judges what you can do and how hard you’ve been working.”

Senior Tyson Parco, a member of drumline, can attest to the nerve-wracking aspect of competitions as well.

“Every week we put in around 17 hours of work to prepare for competitions,” Parco said. “Once you get a rhythm going and become in sync with other people, everyone is focused on trying to make sure they’re following that rhythm and going in the right direction.”

While many people see the entirety of the band perform, the amount of work put into these performances is often something people are not aware of.

“Color guard and drumline have sectionals on Tuesdays for around three hours,” Bisges said.

“We have morning rehearsal every weekday from 6:30 a.m. until the end of first hour. We also have sectionals on Thursdays for three hours. Before competitions we have to come early to load the buses and get everything ready for the performance.”

Hours of preparation can encourage members to do their best and this can lead to finding the best solution to pre-performance jitters.

“You also have to mentally prepare yourself before you do it,” Pitchell said. “I close my eyes and think that this is one of the last competitions I’m going to have this year so I have to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Although students may be nervous in their initial performance in front of judges, it is clear that the pay off is greater than the obstacles they face.

“When they didn’t call our name at UCM for third or second place we all assumed we didn’t place,” Bisges said. “But they called our name for first and we all took a step forward, the drum majors were crying and everyone else was laughing. It was such an amazing feeling, it’s almost like butterflies on a rollercoaster.”

With the spirits of Vanguard members at an all time high, the seasons recent end has led many to plan for next years group of students.

“Not only are we proud of the Blue and White Vanguard this year, but we are truly proud of each and every student involved in the Liberty Band program,” Owen said. “We love each and every one of them the same. Each one of our kids matter to us, not just as musicians, but even more as the amazing people that they are.”

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The Band to Beat