Banding Together: New show focuses on physicality of band preparation

This story originally appeared in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (Oct. 26, 2016).

The band runs onto the field, sounds of vibraphones and marimbas filling the air. A sense of excitement overcomes the crowd as the performers position themselves.

The Marching Lions, equipped with their new show Imagine, face the challenges of aborting their traditional style.

“[Imagine] is very different from what we usually do,” said senior Kai Juge. “Usually we go for a shock-and-awe show with lots of loudness and loud brass, but this time we’re going for a lot of visual effects and a much more musical show overall.”

While the show that audiences see embodies its title–inspiring awe in its observers, leaving the crowd silent in amazement–the final product did not come without sacrifice.

Over the summer, the band put in 80 hours of work during their two-week band camp. They rehearse six hours weekly, in addition to performing at football games.

Through the grueling practices in the blazing Florida heat, the Marching Lions have not only developed their skills, but also a sense of unity that will propel them through the season.

“My favorite part about band is everyone working together as one,” said sophomore Ana-Paula Dovali. “We always give each other support. Just being with your friends and family to put on a show, allowing yourself to entertain others and be amazing, it’s all worth it.”

This chemistry has allowed younger members, including freshman Anna Hite, to transition seamlessly into the flow of the routine. Stating that the band’s structure helped guide her, with older members answering her questions, Hite sees the band’s camaraderie as one of its main strengths.

“Our unity helps improve our performance because we’re not as hard on each other, but we help strive towards better goals together,” Hite said.

Allowing yourself to entertain others and be amazing, it’s all worth it.”

— Sophomore Ana-Paula Dovali

That unity sets the foundation for their success—their passion for music allows them to break through the barrier of mediocrity, preventing them from settling for less than perfection.

“We’re doing what we love,” said senior Matthew Chrisimer. “Because we want first place at the state finals, there are always things to improve. We knew what to expect.”

As the band strives to improve, they have already begun to reap the rewards.

At their first competition, they achieved second place overall, sitting only 0.8 points away from first. Their success quelled the team’s uncertainties and provided extra motivation to improve.

“Over the past couple weeks of practice, we had been doubting ourselves,” Dovali said. “Once we hit our final performance of the competition, we instantly got in the mindset that ‘we want to win this, we’re going to win [states], and we want to represent Oviedo the best we can.’”

Even with their renewed motivation to be the best, the band still realizes the importance of enjoying what they do and maintaining the enjoyability of band.

“It’s a good atmosphere,” Juge said. “Everybody knows each other, it’s all friendly, and there’s a drive to succeed. Sometimes that drive can take over with some of the staff, but usually they’re very pleasant and very good at motivating us.”

As the band prepares for their march on states, they try to draw from past mistakes to perfect their act, looking back on their past performances to seek improvement.

“As a unit, we’ve improved a lot on our visuals and musical style,” Hite said. “We’ve grown a lot since the beginning of the year.”

As the season progresses and the Marching Lions grow as a unit, they realize the importance of putting the team above themselves.

“Everyone in the marching band has a duty to everyone else to do the best they can to make the show as good as it can be,” Juge said. “We try to win the competitions and such, and we often do, but it’s not as much about that as it is about everybody holding everybody else up in the show and making it so that we can be proud of it.”