Matt Cash, sophomore and member of Leesville’s marching band, practices his saxophone. The members of the marching band often practice after school and on their own to keep improving for future games and competitions. (Photo Courtesy of Abigail Mabe)
Leesville High School’s marching band has a demanding schedule for the participating students. The marching band is part of symphonic band, the highest level, audition-only band at Leesville. It counts as an honors class for each of the members. The students march during one class period, practicing for future competitions and games.
Leesville’s marching band includes twenty-nine officer positions throughout the year, offering some of the older students leadership opportunities that they may not get out of school.
“When we are in school, we don’t have that many [outside of school] rehearsals but over the summer we have an entire week we go to band camp and we have several other [rehearsals] after that,” said Killian McRae (a sophomore), a member of Leesville’s marching band.
Auditions for marching band start around February and the band begins official practices in March, beginning with short rehearsals after school. Practices pick up in the summer, including a band camp to conclude summer rehearsals. Now, the students practice before school most days and during their class period.
Students participating in marching band not only have to know how to play an instrument, but have to learn footwork to coordinate with the music, playing and marching at the same time. “Marching while playing is the hardest part because you have to focus both on playing correctly while playing well and also staying smooth in your marching,” said Jason Fogelsonger, a member of Leesville’s marching band.
“During marching season, the physicality of marching [is difficult] because every single day we go out to the field whether it’s hot or cold so it can be very tiring towards the end,” said Fogelsonger.
Students from Leesville elementary, middle, and high schools have the opportunity to watch the hardworking marchers during the High School’s annual homecoming parade. They also have the opportunity to watch marching band perform a special number at home football games during halftime.
The performers in Leesville’s marching band work hard, and they have a positive outlook towards it. “You’re surrounded by other folks who love playing their instrument just as much as you do. It’s like when everyone cares about it you can all reach an awesome goal,” said Matt Cash, a new member to Leesville’s marching band.
“It’s difficult, it really is, but it is really fun in the long run,” said McRae. “I highly recommend you go through with it,” said McRae, encouraging students to try marching band out.
To those who are looking on joining marching band in the future some advice: “Make sure you’re good at working with others and helping others get better,” said Cash, as members say an important part of marching band is learning and growing with the other band members.
“Just practice, is probably the best thing I can say. The friends and people you can hang out with [is worth the practice],” said Fogelsonger. Even though marching band may be hard at times, the end reward is greater than the struggle.