Marching Band Prepares for Another Year of Competition

Noel Mikkelsen, Layout Artist

Five, four, three, two, one—ready or not here they come! The Falls Church Jaguar Marching Band is back and bigger than ever with over 30 new members. The Marching Band was awarded a “Superior” last year by the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association. This marked three years in a row for the band to obtain VBODA’s highest award.
This year’s theme is titled “Games: Children Play,” and is comprised of pieces from popular children’s games like Capture the Flag, Musical Chairs, and Hide and Seek. The band is still striving towards eminence by putting in hours and hours of practice to make sure the superior legacy stays intact for another year.
It isn’t easy getting one of marching band’s highest awards. In order for the band to even think about getting a high score again, they must undergo an abundant amount of practice, which starts even before the school year ends. The members received their music for the show about two weeks before the start of summer.
Rebecca Whitten (11) says, “We need to know how to play our music individually before coming together as a band; that is what the summer is for. Everyone has to know their own part or else we won’t blend well together.”
As the summer came to a close, the marching band season was just beginning. Although students weren’t in school yet, the members of the band came to Falls Church three weeks before classes even began. They showed up at 8:00 a.m. where they practiced, enduring the summer heat on the blacktop, for nine hours until 5:00 p.m. when the day was over. During this time, the new members grasped the fundamentals of how to march while the returning members reviewed everything they learned in the years prior.
The band also learned everything about the upcoming show like where they need to stand at certain moments of the performance, and when to play their instrument. Rahat Haque (12) says, “Even though it can be physically demanding at times, it is so much fun because you get to see your friends three weeks before school starts and hang out with them.”
When the school year actually started, the band practiced every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after school for two hours. On Saturdays they would get on a bus and drive to another school and compete against a bunch of other schools’ bands to see whose would be judged the best. After all the bands have completed their performances, the scores are calculated. At the very end the scores are announced and trophies are given out to the best of the best.
Everyone in the band loves going to competitions, whether it be because they love performing or like watching the other band’s shows. Garrett Works (12) had this to say about competitions: “They’re really fun. It’s exhilarating when you’re playing in front of so many people. It’s fun to see the other school’s performances. I get a sense of pride when we get first place.”
The band’s final performance is coming up on Saturday, October 28 at Patriot High School. Every band in the area will be there fighting for that “Superior” award. This will be the last time the band performs so if you want to see the band at its best, make sure you come to Prince William County’s Patriot High School in Nokesville and cheer them on.