The marching band earned 50 out of 100 possible points in a marching competition at Shawnee Mission North on Saturday. They were competing against 14 other school in Kansas and Missouri. This score did not place them in the top three bands.
“If you were on a math test [50 out of 100] would be an ‘F,’ but on this scale that’s mid-range,” Band director Alex Toepfer said. “Nobody scores 100’s except for professional marching bands.”
The band was also hurt due to the poor weather conditions on Saturday, according to Toepfer. They had to perform their routine in the rain, which led to fingers slipping and a shift in the acoustic balance.
Even though the weather made the performance more difficult, the band greatly improved since last year, when they were ranked last overall and scored 46 points, according to junior Natalie Nitsch. She attributes part of their lower ranking this year to the emphasis some of the higher-scoring schools place on their marching programs.
“With a lot of the other schools that compete, marching band is the only thing that they’re good at,” Nitsch said. “They don’t have a good jazz [and] concert band program, but we try to focus on everything. Even if we didn’t win or place very high, I still feel really good about it, because it was so much better than last year.”
Throughout the competition on Saturday, each school performed a marching routine that was judged by a panel of six experts. East performed their Harry Potter routine, which the band performs during halftime at every football game, Nitsch said. Since band camp over the summer when they first began work on the routine, they have put eighty hours into their preparation for this performance, with 10 hours of rehearsal per week in the mornings and two-hour sectionals every Tuesday evening. In addition, Nitsch said the marching band program is expanding and improving as they put more emphasis on recruiting students from elementary schools.
“There used to be a requirement that you couldn’t do percussion unless you’d been taking piano for three years already, and that discouraged a lot of people from [participating],” Nitsch said. “There hasn’t really been a tradition of getting people to join band, but now there is, which is great.”