Realization flourished through me as I felt the vibrations in the air. I felt guilty as I watched how hard these kids truly work. Knowing that a marching band is a classic way for a school to present spirit, I felt pride as I saw them march. From what I observed during their Western Welcome Week march last Saturday, Aug. 18th, the band has a purpose which can affect our whole school. They play for us. Students have to understand that without the music, activities would not be as dynamic and impactful. The marching band performed our school songs, wore our colors, and won third place in our name. I was discouraged to see cheer teams from other schools along with multiple people cheering them on; seeing the Golden Eagle’s dedicated to something they get no recognition for is unfair.
Luckily, there is no doubt in my mind that Mountain Vista provides the Marching Band with what they need, including knowledgeable instructors, Darren DeLaup and Douglas Green. “For the parade we are just entertaining the crowd. [My only expectation for my students] is to do their best, always,” DeLaup said. During practices, marches, and performances marching band requires constant managing.
I took a step onto the mushy grass and observed DeLaup and Green concentrating on their students warming up. Taking a breath, the two split up into their different sections–Green went with the drumline while DeLaup took the woodwind and brass instruments–they listened as their students went underway rehearsing “Fly Like an Eagle”. Noticing that the students needed to be more in unison, DeLaup and Green displayed their coaching skills and motivated the band. Green consistently walks over to students struggling and gave them individual assistance until they felt cohesive. DeLaup and Green work as plentiful as other Mountain Vista teachers and deserve gratitude for their ability to maintain a lively band.
Joining the band, are students from Mountain Ridge Middle School, eighth graders, Luke Arnold and Martin Faut. Arnold, is apart of the Alto Sax Section and Faut, the Suza Section. “They let the 8th graders in because it’s kind of a small band. We love it,” Arnold said. I asked Diane Faut if she thought it was too daunting a challenge for the middle school students, “No, actually I think it’s a good experience. I think it gives them a stepping stone into high school [so] they’ll feel more comfortable next year,” Faut said.
Unlike football or lacrosse there is no student “band manager”. Instead, parents who are seeking to give their kids the best possible experience take a management role. Parents would run up in front of a pile of dirt or horse droppings blocking it off from the band, ensuring no one would step on it. Parents are responsible to sprint next to a band member in order to pour water in their mouths, because constant marching leaves no time for stopping. I remember when the band was waiting in line for the parade, I even got tired of standing, but the band kids did not complain. “He [Martin Faut] has to fulfill certain criteria because it’s [like] a P.E. class, I mean they run, they do push up, they do planks, it’s core work,” Diane Faut said.
Everyone has seen how Mountain Vista can come together, which is why it is surprising that some activities can lack support. From the Marching Band to Speech and Debate, we are all Vista. Most importantly we must remember we are all human. As a school we need to be more authentic with compassion, empathy, and support. We have to be kind to everyone in order to insure our peers feel valued. Congrats Golden Eagle Marching Band!
Photos by Carly Ems