Gren band blasts away recent competition

Tiffany Kajiwara, Online Editor

Marching Band competed in the North Knights Marching Festival on Sunday, September 13, 2015, and the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The band practices during the summer Band Camp. They begin during the second half of July and continue for four consecutive weeks. Students say this is the most difficult aspect of participating in band.

Johnna Santos, a returning sophomore playing alto sax, said that band camp is the most challenging aspect of Marching Band because, “it mentally and physically drains you, but I think it’s a great experience, and the finished product is totally worth it.”

Once the school year has begun, they can only rehearse fully on Wednesday evenings for three hours. Because not everyone can fit into one class during the day and color guard is an extracurricular, they only have a few hours to work together as a team. In addition, the band members rehearse during the day.

Because of the lack of practice time, Ron Fiorito, the band director, has some student leaders to assist him with teaching the material. Fiorito chooses one or two people to help other musicians playing the same instrument. These people are called section leaders.

Fiorito interviews students to select his assistants.

Elizabeth McDaniel, a senior and one of the flute section leaders, said “We’re there for people in our sections to come to if they have a problem. ”

Drum majors also assist Fiorito and take on additional responsibilities.

The musicians have been working so extremely hard to prepare this year’s show, “300: The Last Stand.”

Every year, the Marching Grenadiers prepare a themed show to use in competitions. It typically lasts around eight or nine minutes. Last year, the theme was “Alice in Wonderland,” and the theme two years ago revolved around Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.” This year’s show reflects the war between the Spartans and the Persians in times long, long ago.

At the competitions, Marching Band competes against other bands’ shows. Upon arrival, the members have 30 minutes to prepare before heading into the football stadium to perform in front of judges.

All of the competing schools perform before the judges. The panel has no knowledge of the shows beforehand. So, if one performer is out of place, it is possible for them not to notice the mistake if the student plays it off correctly.

At the North Knights competition, the Marching Grenadiers placed first in all categories, but they only competed against one other band for their school size.

Although EG placed first in every category, the students were at a disadvantage. Bands compete against bands of similar size because directors can choreograph more complex movements on the field if they have more participants.

Elk Grove typically classifies as a Double A band with just over a hundred student competitors. A Double A band typically has anywhere from sixty-seven to ninety-six musicians on the field. A Quadruple A is the category for the largest bands possible, and the Marching Grenadiers competed as a Quadruple A at the North Knights Competition.

Elk Grove High School was bumped up two divisions and competed against them. Despite the disadvantage, the Marching Grenadiers won.

Those performances were the only two festivals they will be participating in this month, but they will have two more competitions in October. They will finish off the season at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

However, they will continue to play at the football games if the team continues playing past the official marching season.

Katelyn Malartsik, a sophomore member of drumline, said that she truly does enjoy performing at the football games. She said she enjoys them because before the game, “drumline plays in the foyer on Fridays before a football game and during the actual game, everyone’s happy.”

The students and directors have put many long hours rehearsing the same eight minute show for three entire months. They have been through thick and thin together, and they have fought to become the best they can possibly be. They work to stay positive and passionate about their craft. The members of Marching Band believe they have worked hard to make a truly magnificent show.