DHS marching band reclaims title at Baker

Drum majors Kendan Powers, Ryan Handley and Emma Klingler pose for a picture with the Grand Champion trophy at Baker University on Oct. 13.

Drum majors Kendan Powers, Ryan Handley and Emma Klingler pose for a picture with the Grand Champion trophy at Baker University on Oct. 13.

The De Soto High School marching band reclaimed its title as grand champions of the Baker University Marching Band Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 13. After experiencing a narrow defeat in 2019 and a cancelled competition season last year, marching band members were ecstatic about winning the festival again. 

“Everyone started jumping, screaming and hugging each other,” junior River Hastings said. “It was a pretty great moment.” 

Junior section leader Addie Warnes also mentioned the excitement regarding the marching band’s success at Baker. 

“It was really cool because we barely lost my freshman year,” Warnes said. 

The triumph at Baker serves as a representation of the marching band’s improvement and hard work throughout the year. Assistant band director Philip Kaul has been thoroughly impressed with the marching band’s progress. 

“They’ve done everything I could have asked for,” Kaul said. “I expected the energy to be high, but the leadership team has been great and they’ve exceeded my expectations.” 

Warnes also spoke to the leadership team’s work in leading the marching band to a championship at Baker. 

“Since most of the underclassmen are new marchers, the leadership team was able to help those new to marching,” Warnes said. “The leaders made everyone feel comfortable and set a great role model for the underclassmen.” 

The marching band’s inexperience makes the title at Baker all the more impressive. 

“This year’s marching band was the least experienced we’ve ever had,” Kaul said. “Over 70 percent of the band had never marched before, and we were performing a very difficult show.” 

Despite the adversity the marching band faced coming into their fall competition season, they overcame their inexperience and made gigantic strides over the course of the season. Kaul complimented the marching band’s growth and improvement over a short period of time. 

“I really like the process of seeing growth between the first performance and last performance,” Kaul said. “You see kids who haven’t marched before perform great in eight minute shows.” 

While the marching band’s sudden improvement led to a championship at Baker, Kaul continues to focus on the band’s growth. 

“It was cool [to win Baker],” Kaul said. “We always preach that there’s no defense; you can only control your performance. Winning along with that feels great too.” 

The win was sweet for the marching band as band members had waited a long time to bring back a title from Baker’s marching competition; however, the wait was worth it. 

“Winning Baker was great because all of the hard work I’ve put in paid off,” Hastings said. 

Warnes echoed Hastings’ emotions after reclaiming a championship at Baker, summing the marching band’s success story up perfectly. 

“It felt good to come back and win after all the adversity we’ve faced in the last year,” Warnes said. “The win validated all the improvement we’ve made throughout the year.”