Marching Mustangs perform at Middle School Band Concert

Jessica Phillips, Staff Writer

On October 21, 2014 the Ola Marching Band marched down to the middle school to surprise the eighth graders and play their show at the middle  school’s band concert.

Mr. Manson, the high-school band director said, “This is a wonderful recruitment oppurtunity for us. It’s a way for the eighth grade band parents and the eighth graders to see the marching band up close and personal. We can perform for them, they can kinda get to know a little bit about what it is that we go through. I can explain that to the parents and it’s really just a benefit for the transition from eighth grade band, which does not have a marching band, to the high school band that does have a marching band.”

The band has been carrying on this tradition for nine years. “We’ve done this pretty much every year since we opened, it’s just been a thing that we’ve tried to do consistently to make sure that we’re always down at the middle school showing our faces, so they get to know us and get to recognize us.” Manson said.

For some, this is the last time they will ever perform for the eighth graders as a member of the OMB. “It’s kind of surreal, it feels kind of nostalgic, but I’m excited because I know we’ll do well.” Michael Johnston, senior, said.  

“It’s kind of surreal, it feels kind of nostalgic, but I’m excited because I know we’ll do well.”

— Michael Johnston, senior, said.

While the seniors are excited about performing for the eighth graders, there was a sadness behind the performance. “I’m kinda sad. It was bad on senior night, it’ll definitley be worse on the dome, cause that’s your last performance. This is just as bad too, I mean, it’s like it’s your last chance to really show them [that] this is us at the best that we can be. You know it’s like trying to get them to be part of it, and if anything this is going to get them to be a part of it.” Connor Byrd, senior, said.

It was a time for reflection on their time as a member of the OMB. “[When the band came to play for me as an eighth grader], they played pure imagination, and I remember that’s like, you hear good concert bands, but you don’t hear them at such a loud and intense level, and it just really impressed me.” Byrd said. “I feel it’s going to do the same for them as it did for me. The eighth grade night on the field, that was pretty cool. They liked that, but now the concert – it was unexpected and a really nice surprise.”

On the flip side, the freshmen are excited to go to the middle school to show off what they’ve been working on. Jaden Rivera, freshman, said, “I feel kinda good [about playing tonight] because last year, I remember seeing everyone here perform and everything so, it’s going to be nice to play for the new upcoming ninth graders for next year.”

“[It helped me decide to become a marching band member because] it was really cool. Everyone came in and played.” Summer Carmack, freshman, said. “[I am excited to do this tonight] because I want them to experience what I experienced.”

After the performance was over, the gym was buzzing with excitement from the eighth graders and their parents. The performance was a hit and students couldn’t wait to get up to the high-school and join the marching band.

“They were really good, yeah, it was really really good! I like them. I’m excited for marching band.” Kyleigh Pritchett, eighth grader, said about the high-school’s performance.

“I thought it was like really cool to give the eighth graders a good thought about the marching band, and all those people just standing there playing, we look up to them, you know?” Kimberly Coggin, eighth grader, said.

“I really like the high-school band. [We] experience what the high-school actually does. If you like playing in front of everybody at the big events then you’ll probably like [marching band].” Katelyn Norsworthy, eighth grader, said.

Not only did the eighth graders enjoy it, but their parents also believed that the performance was outstanding.

“I think it’s absolutley fabulous. It’s a great way to recruit kids and to get kids excited. I know my daughter as an eighth grader thinks it’s the best thing and it’s going to lead her right on to the high-school. It just gets her stoked and ready to go.” Jennifer Pritchett, mother of Kyleigh Pritchett, said.

“I thought it was really exciting. I think it’s a good way to get the younger kids motivated, and sign up for the marching band. I think it’s critical that [the high-school maintains a good relationship with the middle school] because the relationship between Teti and Manson is a good one and it’s very critical.” Brad Crawford, father of eighth grader Emily Crawford, said.

The middle school administration also believes that the eighth grade night was a success.

“I think it’s incredible. I just think it’s really good for the middle school kids to see what they have to look forward to. It’s a lot of hard-work, but I think it’s really exciting and when they can see that and be included, and already be apart of that, before they even get to high-school – I think that’s a good motivator for them to keep working hard.” Karen Maddock, assistant principal at the middle school, said. “I think it’s good for the high-schoolers to see where they started, so coming back to the middle school and see how they’ve devolped and evolved. It’s crucial from both sides.”

Overall, the performance at the band concert was a success.  The band program cannot wait to welcome the eighth graders to the high-school, and hopefully have them come back with them to the middle school next year as members of the Ola High School Marching Band.