A major victory

Wildcats take home 3rd at State


Photo Courtesy: Scott Krusemark

Millard West band lines the field at State. The members prepare for their last performance of this season.

Bailey Christensen, Assistant Broadcast Editor

On Saturday, Oct. 26th, Buell Stadium crowded as the bleachers flooded full with fans waiting to cheer at the annual Nebraska State Band Competition. The Marching Band performed their show “Someday I’ll Fly Away” ending with a 3rd place trophy and an award for the best visual performance overall. 

Photo Courtesy: Scott Krusemark
Senior Drum Majors Sanjulaa Chanolian and Jake Schlosser accept the award for third place and best visuals. Last year they received these awards as well. “We had a great rim and we definitely hit our peak at the end of the season,” Chanolian said.

Gretna band took first place with Millard North following in second. Both teams have been rivals with Millard West throughout the past years. In an attempt to place high up with their competition, the band applied hard dedication to bringing a performance that showed their passion for playing.

Though the band could be seen practicing before school and through first block every day and after school on Thursday nights, the beginning of this show started back in the summer. Band directors John Keith and Bryon Braasch directed the ten-minute show in the hot summer heat until complete perfection. The long days at band camp in July, to cold early morning band rehearsals, and the late-night practices lead to victory at state.

“State is the most important competition of the whole season,” senior Taylor Shipley said. “This is the competition that every band prepares for. The past week has been extremely stressful trying to perfect everything and it is so important that we have good rehearsals the whole week.”

Photo Courtesy: Scott Krusemark
Color Guard joins with band members to put on “Someday I’ll Fly Away”. Senior Taylor Shipley stands proud after her performance. “After performing once in a stadium and looking up to see the bleachers filled with people who loved the band and came to support us, I knew I loved both Color Guard and band,” Shipley said.

Color Guard and the marching band collaborated to provide the best show for their viewers. With a wide set of people, the timing was essential to make the show one of a kind. This meant practice and patience for all of the band as they adjusted around the changes compared to previous years.

“One of the biggest obstacles was learning how all the props worked, such as the fog and sound equipment along with our rifles and flags,” Shipley said. “We added more visuals in order to place higher, but everything has to be timed perfectly in order for the show to succeed. The band worked really hard to perfect this and that really showed on Saturday.”

Drill writing for this season fit the Millard West Band perfectly, as a smaller state band helped to create a tight-fitting march and allowed the group to implement more coordinated moves with their strong team of motivated members. Over a hundred hours were spent on the new turf field trying to create the most competitive show possible. Playing at events in a pro-stadium to winning Minnesota Class 3A Championships helped the group put in real-life experience in applying towards State. This led to a heart filled performance that drew out emotion from the audience.

“My favorite part of the show is definitely the fourth movement when we go into the big bird form,” senior Abigail Marsh said. “The show this year is very emotional and that part honestly makes me cry when I watch it back on videos. It makes me think about how much time and effort I’ve put into the band program in the last four years.

Looking back at the performance, band members stand proud to have gained the results they did as this was one of their best runs through the season and all effort was left on the field. 

“We definitely hit our peak at the end of the season It was absolutely exhilaration and I have never felt so connected to a show and this one completely overwhelmed me with joy,” senior Drum Major Sanjulaa Chanolian said. “It was a wonderful moment to end off on.”

The scores at the end of the day showed the dedication put in by the band and reflected those restless mornings and late nights of repetition. 

“State is the last opportunity to give it your all and I think this band did that,” Shipley said. “We are competing with the best in Nebraska and the scores show that. To be honest, a lot of us aren’t looking at the scores. We are enjoying being a part of an amazing group of people. As a senior, I can tell you that being part of band impacted my life in more ways than you can imagine. I definitely made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Now that the season is over, the band completed its goal of a wonderful performance at State and continues to practice and perfect to improve the group as a whole for upcoming years.