Band performs at State marching competition for the first time

The De Soto high school marching band performs during halftime at the Homecoming game on Oct. 18, 2019.

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The De Soto high school marching band performs during halftime at the Homecoming game on Oct. 18, 2019.

Lauren Stanton, Arts and Entertainment Editor

While many De Soto High School students were sleeping in and preparing for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 19, members of the DHS band woke up early and got ready for competition. The band performed at the Kansas Bandmasters Association State Championship at Washburn University in Topeka. 

The band’s call time was 5:45 a.m. Once the band arrived at Washburn, they warmed up and performed shortly after. 

Walking off the field, many band members felt proud of their performance. 

“I think we did okay. We probably could have done better, but considering how many bands were there and that it was our first time doing it, I think we did really well,” said senior drum major Sydney D’Andrea. 

The format of KBA is different from past competitions such as the Baker University Marching Festival. 

At KBA, there is a preliminary round and a finals round. Only the top 12 bands in the entire state make it to finals. During the performance, there are judges on both the track and field, critiquing the band on their performance.

According to band director Matt Bradford, there is a judge for percussion, individual musicality, overall music and general effect. 

The band was new to having all these different kinds of judges, especially the judges on the field. 

“It was unexpected for me. It caught me off guard because they were right in front of me. It was harder to focus and made 

me feel like I had to be on my toes,” junior Sophia Stine said.

After the band performed, they went into the stands to watch other bands of a similar caliber before heading back to DHS for the afternoon.

“I liked watching the other bands perform and just getting to sit with my friends and watch,” D’Andrea said. 

After watching a few bands perform, the band returned to DHS and students were free to go home to wait for a response on whether or not they made finals. 

Many students took the break time as an opportunity to get some rest and eat lunch. Soon 4 p.m. rolled around and the text was sent out that the band did not make finals. 

Although the band did not make finals, the band felt they performed well and displayed all of their hard work. 

According to Stine, she was going to be “happy no matter what place we got because I [she] knew that in my [her] heart that we did the best that we could.”

The band ended up taking 17th out of 28 bands. 

I was very proud of them. I think the performance was actually a very good performance. It wasn’t perfect, but you know, going into that situation, that was new to almost everybody,” Bradford commented. 

By not making finals, band members were allowed to make last-minute Homecoming plans and attend the dance. 

“We [Stine and sophomore Jacob Dority] ended up getting our outfits two hours before the dance. It was worth it because we ended up having a fun time,” Stine said. 

The band performs again this weekend on Oct. 26 at the Olathe Marching Festival. The band hopes to give a great performance and gain insight into the broader marching band world. 

“I think it [Saturday’s competition] will be an eyeopener, which will be nice. It should make us [the band] think ‘oh, there’s more, there’s a lot more out there.’” Bradford said. 

By attending larger competitions, the band hopes to continue to improve and expand their horizons.

Our hope is that we can start to build a better band marching band. We don’t want our students to be complacent and stagnant,” Bradford said.