CLINTON TWP. — Following last year’s third place win out of 37 bands at the 2015 Cavalcade Band Championships, this year’s Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School marching band has a lot of expectations to live up to.
But according to some of the seniors who were a part of the Marching Lions since seventh or eighth grade, the band is not only on track, but ahead of the game.
One of those upperclassmen, Colin Holmes, percussion, said even the band members who are new this year are excelling.
“In all my years of marching band, we are farther ahead than we ever have been,” he said during practice Tuesday morning, Aug. 23.
Holmes, who joined the band in seventh grade, said he enjoys the musical side of it, but the best aspect is the “sense of community” he shares with his fellow bandmates.
Another senior percussionist, Bobby Titus, section leader, expressed the same.
“You get to make a lot of friends in marching band,” he said. “It’s a fun kind of crowd to be around.”
According to band director Kevin Dikeman, this is one of the band’s strengths.
“Everyone gets along great,” he said. “We’re a small school, so everyone’s known each other their whole lives.”
He added that doesn’t mean they aren’t welcoming to new members, of which the marching band has six this season.
To Matt Kinback, a senior trumpet player and section leader, one of the best things about participating in the marching band is performing during the football games.
“I really like stand music,” he said. It’s a lot of fun.”
This year’s show is titled “The Incredibles” (as in the Pixar animated film). Dikeman said it has some difficult aspects to it, musically, but the students are learning it well.
“It has some interesting rhythms and some different playing parts,” he said.
This is also where another of the band’s strengths lies – in the music.
Dikeman said there is still a lot of work to do, however, in improving the marching and presentation aspects of the show. And there will be plenty of opportunity for that, as “hard work” could be the band’s middle name.
The students’ summer practice schedule included a three-hour practice every Monday morning, a mini four-hour-per-day, week-long band camp and one week of full band camp. During the school year, they practice for three hours every Monday evening, until 5 p.m. after school on Thursdays and between dismissal and the football games on Fridays.
But the hard work is worth it.
Cassandra Brown, flute player and section leader, said she thinks one of the best things about performing is the feeling she gets after completing a performance, whether it’s at a football game or a band competition.
“That feeling is my favorite part,” the senior said.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.