Band takes on new competitive structure


Lauren Stanton

The DHS Marching Wildcats practice their performance on August 27, 2018.

Erin Pickert, Staff Reporter

The previous De Soto Marching Wildcats, a full marching band ranging from incoming freshmen to seniors, will soon undertake a change in its structure. After being a singular marching band consisting of nearly 170 members, freshman musicians will participate in their own Freshman Band, as opposed to the competitive Wildcat Band.

“Right now we are to the point where our band is so big that it’s hard to be competitive with other bands and so when we go to competitions we’re usually the biggest- most of the time by far,” band director Matt Bradford said.

Usually having an extra 50 members, the DHS Marching Wildcats largely outnumbered competitors. The smaller Wildcat Band will be able to march more competitively than before with a smaller number of more experienced marchers.

“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to be travelling a whole bunch. We are planning doing just three competitions next year, but we would like to more competitive with schools our size,” Bradford said. “Last year there were only two schools, including us, in Johnson County that used freshmen in their marching band.”

As for the Freshman Band, marchers will still perform “Pre-game” at DHS football games. Pre-game includes marching down the football field whilst performing the fight song, Wildcat Victory, and the national anthem. Also playing pep songs in the stands, the two bands will conjoin before and after the Wildcat Band takes on the halftime show.

Otherwise, the freshmen will be separately directed by Bradford and assistant band director Philip Kaul.

“Freshmen will have a separate class period, so we’ll be able to spend a lot more time on the pep band tunes that we never have enough time to practice. We’ll also have time to ease them into marching band instead of just throwing them all into it,” Bradford said.

Yet, freshman still have the opportunity to join Wildcat Band through auditioning and being accepted for DHS Symphonic Band, which practices and performs in the winter and spring.

The new structure, which will in hopes provide a more competitive experience for upperclassmen marchers and an easier transition for freshmen, will be implemented in the next marching season of 2019.

“This is all new to us,” Bradford said, yet he has high hopes for the future of DHS Marching Bands.