Despite obstacles, marching band delivers strong performances this season


Photo courtesy of Lifetouch

The Marching Golden Lions take the field at a home football game in September. They also performed in three competitions this year.

Chloe Dierkes, Staff Writer

As most people know, the Marching Golden Lions bring spirit and beat to every pep rally and football game. What many people don’t know, however, is all the hard work and dedication the Marching Band has put into this season to overcome every obstacle Covid has thrown their way.

“Marching band is all about having a good time and making music with friends,” Director of Bands Mr. Ian LaBreck said. It’s a lot of hours of rehearsal and practice time on your own. But overall, it’s all about being there for the football team on Friday nights and putting on a show for competitions.”

Just like every other activity this school year, the marching band had to adjust to changes so they could practice safely in the midst of Covid. 

For example, senior Jacob Vrazel explained, “This year we introduced performance masks, which allow the wind players to play through small, sealable holes in their masks, as well as regular masks for the drumline and bell covers for brass instruments.” 

Another precaution they took was waiting until they had all of their safety protocols in place before they began practicing as a group. They usually begin rehearsing over the summer, but this year they couldn’t begin until September. 

Their competitions were very different as well. 

“We have had to wear masks and sit apart from and not interact with the other bands, whereas competitions are usually a very social event where you can meet new people with the same interests,” junior Lucy Vrazel said. “We also had to take two buses in order to spread out and socially distance.”

Jacob added that “This year, our competitions were divided into two sections between the smaller divisions and the larger divisions so that they could keep the stadiums more socially distanced. Because our band is in the smallest division, it meant we had to miss out on seeing the biggest bands, which are always the most fun to see.”

The theme for this year’s show was “Paradise Found.”

“It’s basically a take on the John Milton novel ‘Paradise Lost’, but we turn it around throughout the show,” Mr. LaBreck explained. “We start in this scary, kind of lost, wandering place, and finally we find out who we are and overcome obstacles, ending on a really positive note. It is kind of funny how it parallels our whole season.”

They participated in three competitions throughout October, and despite not even having their whole band at the beginning of the season, they earned several first and second place finishes in different categories including band, percussion, drum major, and color guard. 

Mr. LaBreck said he was thrilled with the band’s performance at their last competition of the season.

“October 24 was our final competition at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. We earned all superiors, which is the highest rating possible,” he said.

He went on to explain that there are only 44 members of the Marching Golden Lions, making their accomplishments this season that much more impressive. 

“We’re a really small band compared to a lot of these other bands in Georgia, so the fact that we’re making those placements is really cool,” he said.

The Marching Golden Lions had to adapt to a new way of doing things, but they were thankful they still had the opportunity to put their musical talents on display this year.

“This year was exceptionally different from others due to the circumstances under the pandemic,” Jacob said when reflecting on the season. “Nevertheless, it was a great season and I am grateful to be a part of such a wholesome and friendly community for my senior year.”