BTS: Marching onward to success

The Marching band has been working tirelessly since summer on their show Spinning Metal to prepare it for competitive performance.

The band performs at the school’s home football games as well as at competitions in the St. Louis area and the Midwest. The band traveled to the O'Fallon Township High school Metro East Marching Classic on Sept. 8, taking second in class 3A, and winning best percussion in class and best percussion in show overall.

On Sept. 22, they performed at the Lafayette High school Contest of Champions. The band won Grand Champion, and swept all captions including best music, best visual and best general effect.

Band Director Joe Padawan, said the show has largely contrasting designs making it very effective in competition.

“Our show is titled "Spinning Metal."  It is a juxtaposition of the old Rumpelstiltskin story of spinning straw into gold (in this case, metal) and a metal rock concert.” Padawan said. “Visually we are featuring metallic props, three of which are wheeled across the field with students strapped in them.  The Color Guard spins metallic colored flags throughout the show & is dressed in the time period of Rumpelstiltskin crossed with beautiful metallic colors. There are lots of metallic sound samples throughout the show and the music is classically charged with elements of rock as well.”

A lot of work goes in behind the scenes before a show ready to be viewed by an audience. The band rehearses during seventh hour class everyday as well as after school until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoons. The full ensemble including the horn line, color guard and percussion sections rehearse together from 6-9 p.m. once a week.  Band Director, Joe Padawan, said the band has a rigorous practice schedule during the summer as well.

“The Marching Band holds three Mini Camps. The Mini Camps are scheduled every other week and run Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from two to nine pm. There is also the 10-Day Band Camp at the end of the summer,” Padawan said.

As the summer came to a close and the school year got in to full swing, so did the marching season. Color guard member, junior Rachel Cottle said the color guard, as well as the other ensembles of the band, practice on a regimented schedule throughout the week, and because of the intensity of the activity the students must be in shape.

On a week with no performances we practice for 6 hours. But, on a week where we have a performance we will probably be practicing over 10 hours. You have to be an athlete to be in colorguard because it is so physically demanding. Adding the dance and the equipment and the football field it is a lot,” Cottle said.

Throughout the summer and academic year, the Marching band hires outside professionals to clinic with the band and critique the show. Padawan said this is an important element that gives the band an edge in local competition.

All of the top bands across the country utilize outside designers and clinicians to help write, choreograph, and develop the show.  It is important to hire outside the program because these professionals write for many other programs and know where the activity is going,” Padawan said.

Drum major, senior Ethan Budge said his perspective of the program has changed drastically since acquiring his position as drum major.

“You see the band in a different way. When you are just marching you strictly focus on your dot, but it is pretty cool to see the whole picture of the band unfold,” Budge said.

The band had a record breaking season last year with their show, On Strings of Silk, as they earned a spot in finals at the Bands of America St. Louis, a first for the school. The band was the smallest performing at this level of competition and took 12th out of 14. Cottle said she has never been more proud to be a part of the school’s color guard.

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