The world’s in her hands

Great Mills High School marching band ‘qui­etly proud’ about re­cent suc­cesses

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JACQUI ATKIELSKI Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNew

Great Mills High School sopho­more Carolyn Craw­ford holds last week an in­flat­able globe last week dur­ing the marching band’s re­hearsal.

Great Mills High School’s 47 marching band mem­bers so far have been re­warded for their long sum­mer of re­hearsals with vic­to­ries at com­pet­i­tive events. This week and next, they’re pre­par­ing an­other com­pe­ti­tion, the U.S. Bands Open Class Na­tional Cham­pi­onships sched­uled for Nov. 11 in New Jersey.

Band di­rec­tor Matthew Pear­son said last week the band came in first place in their open class di­vi­sion in ev­ery con­test, in­clud­ing the 2017 Ma­rine Corps In­vi­ta­tional hosted in An­napo­lis on Oct. 21.

The band par­tic­i­pated in its fifth con­test on Oct. 28, where they won first place in their di­vi­sion over Chop­ti­con High School.

The show, ti­tled “Into the Cos­mos,” de­tails “the won­der of space travel,” as well as a con­flict in­volv­ing uniden­ti­fied fly­ing ob­jects and the ride back home, Pear­son said.

Band staff pur­chased the mu­sic and mod­i­fied it for per­cus­sion needs, Pear­son said, adding that they can “focus more cre­ative en­ergy into the drill than the mu­sic.”

Sopho­more Carolyn Craw­ford said she loves this year’s show and it “cre­ates a beau­ti­ful pic­ture. It gets a big crowd re­ac­tion.”

She said hav­ing the two ex­tra weeks this sum­mer due to the aca­demic year not start­ing un­til Sept. 5 helped the stu­dents lay the ground work of the show and get ex­tra time on the field.

Pear­son said he was con­cerned about stu­dents “get­ting burned out,” but he and his staff ad­justed to the new sched­ule.

As a color guard mem­ber and the as­sis­tant drum ma­jor, Craw­ford said her mother jokes that “she spends more time on the field with the group [this year] than at my house … This is my home.”

She said “ev­ery­one should try” marching band, as it helped her build dis­ci­pline. “It’s changed me as a per­son,” she said.

Se­nior Noah Busby said the marching band’s per­for­mances this year “are the best I’ve seen of any school.”

He said “the pure qual­ity of the show … how well its writ­ten, it’s not too com­pli­cated.”

Busby said he and other band stu­dents are “qui­etly proud” of their ac­com­plish­ments this year, but “there is al­ways room to im­prove.”

Pear­son said stu­dents knew go­ing into the sea­son they were go­ing to com­pete with Chop­ti­con and were ex­cited to outscore its county ri­val, “be­cause of the kind of pro­gram” it was.

From the stu­dent’s per­spec­tive, they “won be­cause of the ef­forts” they put in, Pear­son said, adding that they set the bar high to im­prove ev­ery time.

“In marching band, we learn to win and lose,” Pear­son said. “It comes down to how hard you re­hearse.”

Pear­son said he com­pares his stu­dents’ self im­prove­ment to the rac­ing video game “Mario Cart.”

“I tell the kids to race [and] beat their ghost char­ac­ters … to im­prove” when they gather to prac­tice, he said.

Sandy Craw­ford, Carolyn Craw­ford’s mother and band booster trea­surer, said “last year was a re­build­ing year” and stu­dents were able to “hit the ground run­ning” be­cause there was al­ready a foun­da­tion for marching tech­niques ex­pected from the stu­dents.

Marching band is “a good way to make good friends fast,” she said, adding that it’s a “won­der­ful way to tran­si­tion from middle school to high school … It’s a god­send for par­ents who are con­cerned.”

The show uses do­nated props like propane tanks, as band par­ents “get cre­ative and re­pur­pose, re­cy­cle and make do,” Sandy Craw­ford said. The band wel­comes “any and all do­na­tions of money and time,” she said.

Dex Hansard, GM’s band booster pres­i­dent, said in a phone call Tues­day the “band has done ex­ceed­ingly well. We didn’t lose a lot of se­niors,” this year, he said, cred­it­ing the older stu­dents with help­ing the younger ones grow as per­form­ers.

Hansard said the band scores con­tinue to go up, and that he and other band par­ents are ex­cited to see how well the band will per­form on Nov. 11, “where eight or nine bands com­pete at a na­tional level.”

The band booster pres­i­dent said South­ern Mary­land “has a good rep­u­ta­tion for marching band” and other fine arts pro­grams. “For each of the high schools to host their own band com­pe­ti­tion, it says a lot about the [com­mu­nity’s] ded­i­ca­tion” to the ac­tiv­ity, he said.



Great Mills High School se­nior Noah Busby marches last week dur­ing re­hearsal.

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