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Paw Prints Past Issues (2017-2018)

Marching band makes states
Julia Sentgerath


By: Julia Sentgerath


Everyone knows about the Clarkston Football Team and their incredible track record for making it to States. Everyone knows about the sports here in Clarkston, but what about a different kind of record setting? What about the band?

More specifically, the Marching Band.

More often than not, people go to a football game and figure halftime is for concessions. But for over 100 students here at our high school, halftime is game time. The marching band begins preparations long before most of the audience even arrives.

This is common in the band, from the authorities down to the freshmen. In fact, in an interview with director Michael Lewis, he admitted that the band "will typically have the show music picked out around early February." He later stated that, "Putting the entire show together is about a nine month process." This includes color guard design and choreography, music, movements, and everything else that goes into the extensive season.

Even Senior Saxophone Section Leader Joseph Deschaine says he has to "Get there earlier and leave later." Even being a section leader in the band takes a lot of leadership capabilities as well as dedication, because messing up in front of the rest of your section can mean bad habits.

Bad habits can quickly derail the entire season of good habits, which are often built up at the infamous band camp up in Tustin, Michigan. After around 3 hours on busses, band members are pushed for an entire week in the heat, cold, and rain. There's a reason the drum majors always say 'drink water', as multiple instrument carriers often pass out on the field.

After the rigorous camp, the band practices every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, often with football games on Fridays and an earlier start Saturday for invitationals. Most people don't realize quite the dedication that is poured into the halftime show, from the band moms who hang up uniforms to the befuddled, but eager, rookies. The marching band typically arrives at the school around 8 or 9 in the morning and practices anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, rain or shine. Or even snow.

The marching season usually ends for the band by making it into States for Division 1, along with some of the largest and highest ranking bands in the state. After hundreds of hours of dedication, the struggle is paid off with a trip to Ford Field.

They start off outside in arcs, practicing music and waiting with anticipation as they are herded into a small burning hot practice room. This year, it was the locker room of the Detroit Lions. Many sections smile and laugh in silence, even doing their own section handshakes as they nervously walk out onto Ford Field. Once set, choreographer and respected authority 'Ivan' walks out and shouts "GIVE 'EM HELL!" before walking off with a grin, the crowd cheering.

Everyone knows about the seriousness of Clarkston Athletics but if a single member of the marching band walked off of that field without a fear of passing out or sweat rolling down their backs, they most certainly did something wrong.