Behind the Scenes of the Marching Pioneers


Grace Tisinger

In the image above, The marching pioneers are playing stand tunes.

Grace Tisinger, Reporter

It was the coldest game of the season. The stands were packed with seniors and their parents, to support the annual Senior Night football game. On any usual Friday night, the sounds and colors of the Patriot High School Marching Pioneers can be heard, but tonight was different. Halftime was dedicated to our outgoing seniors, which meant the band’s performance would be moved to after the game. The final whistle blew, the score was set, and before the band could take the field, most of the stadium was empty. All that remained in the seats were family and friends of the band members on the field.  

When one hears the words marching band, they often think of the substantial number of people who play music during football games. Few truly know what it takes to be a member of the band and what each member goes through to be there. Information is released in April of the following school year with tryouts following in May. Summer is cut short with the start of band camp in early August, which signals the start of the band season. The traditional season runs from August to November, with parades going through the winter holidays.

In order to be in the band, a player must go through long hours of band camp. Don’t let the name fool you, band camp is not your typical camp. When asked about this year’s band camp, Ms. Williams stated “We had every challenge thrown at us. We had over one-hundred-degree heat, power outages, and random tornadoes coming through. I mean, you name it.” Ms. Williams beamed as she continued to describe the determination and dedication she saw in the band members as they worked through each challenge and each day every student came back. Not one band member dropped out during camp this year. 

The band members are all lined up on the Drivers Ed lot at the beginning of band camp.
(Grace Tisinger)

Let’s go back to that night on the football field. Each band member puts in hours of practice and hard work before they step foot on that field to perform. They stand and play to support the teams and the students from the stands. Can you imagine what a football game would be like without the sound of the band cheering and playing? 

Luckily, you never will. That’s because no matter what, the band comes through for the school community, but can they say the same for the students? In a recent interview, Senior, Darby Bates, expressed how “the student body has a lack of appreciation until it comes to things like walking pep-rallies.” They went on to explain how students like the walking pep-rallies because of the drum line and getting the opportunity to miss class for a brief time.  

There are so many ways we can come together as a community to show our band support. Everyone, including staff, are invited to come out to games and see the band perform. Ms. Williams described it best; “After a full day, a home game, you’ve got a competition the next day, and you’re performing what it feels like only for your parents then turns out some of your teachers are there, can really make a difference.” Darby Bates suggested that students get involved with suggesting stand tunes during games and providing more opportunities for students to interact with the band. Students and staff are always welcome to attend competitions and performances at any time.  

The trumpet section is performing a lift in their 2021 fall show. (Grace Tisinger)

All the hard work and determination that the Marching Pioneers have put into this season will be rewarded on April 8th, when they perform in one of Disney’s 50th anniversary parades. Not every band gets the privilege to play at Disney. There is a rigorous application and audition process to be considered for this unique opportunity. After reviewing the audition tapes, Disney selects the ones they feel are best to perform at their park. This year, the Marching Pioneers were one of those chosen. 

So, the next time you see a student in the hall wearing their band jacket or you pass a band member on game day, just remember what it took for them to get there. They’ve worked hard to support the school, the students, the staff, and everything we do. More importantly, on those cold autumn nights, stay just a few minutes longer. You won’t regret it.