Marching Band takes Grand Pause on competitions for first time since 2005

Christian Holt, Staff Writer

The Bronco Band has a reputation for being one of the best marching bands in the state, winning 1st place in the Florida Marching Band Competition (FMBC) in 2016 and being the consecutive runner-up since then. Instead, the band will be playing what would have been the competitive show, as a halftime show for football games.

At the end of the 2019 marching season, Mr. Yaques, the band director, announced to the band that if they continued working at it, within a year or two, they would have a real shot at winning first place at the Florida Marching Band Competition (FMBC). Unbeknownst to him and the band was the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic would cancel not only school, but all extracurricular activities, including the marching band.

As of this year, most other extracurricular activities have begun to resume as normal. The band, on the other hand, will not. Ever since Yaques started marching competitions in 2005, the band’s season has started in the early summer and ended around Thanksgiving. Practices went from 3:30 p.m. – 7:00 pm. every Tuesday and Thursday, with more practices being scheduled on weekdays and weekends the closer the Band got to FMBC.

“Due to COVID, band basically shut down for a year and a half,” explained Yaques. “I wanted to re-establish (the band) this year.” 

That year and a half has introduced two entire classes of students that have never marched before. In a normal year, there is only one class of students that gets to see the other forty to fifty students that have marched before.

“I would rather do competitions, but we shouldn’t do competitions,” said senior Jonah Karpf, the percussion section leader. “It’s a smart move not to with two classes of untrained people.” 

Although some students agree with this decision, not all are content with it. When asked if they will miss competitions, most seniors said they will. 

“Yeah, I was always looking forward to doing as many competitions as I could do,” said senior Nathan Lobdell, a bronco band captain. “Ever since freshman year, my first competition, I’ve been looking forward to doing all of them, having a full four years. But since COVID came down, we weren’t able to do as many competitions as I would like to.” 

The competitive season always ends the weekend before Thanksgiving. That’s when FMBC is hosted, meaning that not only is the Marching Band not competing, but the length of the season has also been shortened.

“Football games always end before marching band season would normally end,” explained Karpf. “And, I remember even while we’re doing competitive season, you get nostalgic for football games.” 

Even then, there are still a few students that are disappointed in the outcome of this year, especially seniors whose last chance to march was this year. 

“I’d rather go home,” noted senior Connor McCallister,  bass captain.  “There’s a lot more I could do. [For me,] football games are not that entertaining, they’re not the best that I’ve seen, and the music is very repetitive and boring. I’d rather do (competitive) marching band than football band. That’s why I joined marching band.”

Despite all this, the marching band isn’t going to slow down this year. Practices  continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they will be playing for the halftime shows. The show that is usually practiced for competitions will be for the football games instead. This is so that the band can get back on track, so when the band does resume competitions, it maintains its status as one of the best marching bands in the state.

In previous years, the band has performed a different halftime show than what they usually practice. This is because football band is not usually the main priority, competitions are. As a result, students seem to be excited to show what the marching band is capable of at halftime.

“It’s gonna be cool to showcase the show that’s usually the band’s first priority at football games,” explained Karpf.  “Usually our halftime show is intentionally lower quality than our main show, so for the halftime show to be the main show we get to show off a bit more to the school.” 

If you want to catch the marching band’s performance, they will be attending most home games starting in September through October and will be traveling to Wellington High School on October 29.