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Here at Walnut Grove High School, marching band members come and go but leave an impactful legacy each year for the new members.
by Norah Griffin
Seniors in this year's marching band have left a mark on all of us in some way shape or form, even if you don’t know them. Starting off in this article we will recall every senior from the band in order of how many years they have done it.
Starting off strong with Colton McDuffie, Drum Major, who is a fifth year marcher. He started his marching band career in the 8th grade. Colton reminisces on his favorite memory from his 5 years; “[I’d say] the Universal Orlando trip [in the spring of 2022]. Freshman year the trip was really cool cuz it was like the day before Covid, so the park was empty and we got to ride like everything and there was no line.” While Colton has been doing this for 5 years, he rates this recent season “absolutely wonderful. It was a great season” with this season show being his favorite.
Next we have a favorite color guard member how has been marching for 5 years. Cierra Foster has been a part of the band for both marching clarinet her 8th grade year to guard her last 4 years.
Finally with the end of the last generation of 5th year marchers is Sarah Bowden, Rookie Mentor. Sarah has been marching since her 8th grade year with Colton and Daniel and has been improving since day 1; “[She has] improved very much, like a thousand times better.” And her favorite show was [She] really liked this year because we had four movements and [she] thought the dance in it was really cool.”
Starting off strong with the fourth year marcher generation is Audrey Ta, Drum Major. Like most marchers, they tend to start in freshman year to get a feel for marching band. Audrey’s favorite memory from her entire marching career was “[Her] last competition. [It] was the best memory [she has] ever had. Everyone got sick after because the bleachers were super close together, but [she has] never performed EVER as well as [she] did that night. It felt so good to do so well at our last competition and see all of our hard work pay off.”
Next we have Brody Sinko, a fourth year marcher. Brody states even as a fourth year that he puts in effort every day and “self-control and self-discipline than previous years and focused more on [himself].” With that being said, Brody gives words of encouragement to future or aspiring marching band generations; “No matter how hard it may get, you always just have to keep pushing through because the end goal is so worth it for literally everything.”
Then we have Cece Ashe who has been marching her clarinet for the past 4 years. She has been in many shows and made many memories and friendships along the way.
Then we have Ella Whitaker. With Ella, Brass Captain, she is a kind soul who likes to talk but mainly gives words of wisdom, especially when it comes to future or aspiring generations in marching band. “Definitely stick with it, but also be glad you're there at the moment. Like you can't even when it's miserable and it's hot and you're like, oh God, I want to go home. I hate it. You're like, you have to think about the fact that when you graduate, you're never going to get to do that again, you're never going to get to, like most of the time, you'll never get to march again. Like if you don't, if you decide not to do marching band again, you will never have that experience again. So you have to really relish those memories and you have to like to think about these people that you're surrounded with and you have to like, "Just live in that moment.”
Followed with Kadance Crider, a fourth year marcher. Kadance rates this season “the best year of marching band that [she has] ever had in the past four years.” And with every failure, comes a big accomplishment. Kadance's goal this season was “getting over [her] injuries and pushing through, despite the fact that [her] injuries could have caused [her] not be able to continue anything anymore.”
Finally, the end of the fourth year marcher era is William Hollingsworth, Band Captain. Will’s favorite memory correlates to this year's football season going to region, “seeing us win our first playoff game, that one was pretty cool to watch because when [he] was a freshman, our team was not good.” And with the end of fourth year marchers, Will tells everyone to ‘“cherish the moment” and not to give up no matter how hot it is.”
Then we have our only third year senior marcher: Kylee Alligood, Color Guard Captain. Kylee started her sophomore year, but that doesn’t stop anyone from starting a marching band career. While she didn’t start freshman year, her day one has helped her improve every day following, “I couldn't toss a flag. And the captain, Elaine was like, okay, we're gonna keep doing it until we get it. And then my arm was like spaghetti and I couldn't toss the next day. So definitely improvement and strength and framework.”
Next we move on to our second year marchers who were kind of late to the game but that doesn't mean they didn’t leave a mark. Starting off with this year’s Color Guard Captain, Emma Kelley. Emma reminisced in her favorite memory from this past season, “Our first competition, it was a little hard because we got announced as not winning first and then we went to go check those scores. But hearing from Ms. Merck that we got first place after like years of not being able to, and just like not placing first, but getting first place in like the color guard section was just a memory that I always have.”
Next we move on to this season's Woodwind Captain, Shelby Redding. Shelby said that she “grew so much [in marching band]. And [she is] a better leader, better person, better marcher. Just better everything.” And her favorite memory from marching band is, “the trip to Orlando, just cuz it was really different and cool. Long bus ride.”
Finally we move on to our latest addition to the graduating Class of 2023 as our first year marcher, Jack Lucas. His biggest accomplishment this year was “being the intern for the band and reorganizing the musical library, helping Mrs. Merck out.” And Jack has grown as a marcher even if he didn’t start with us, he says, “Insane. There's been so much growth.”
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