The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The March to Success

Pictured+left+to+right%3A+%28front+row%29+Rahkeem+Smith%2C+Ewan+Thompson%2C+Jamison+Taylor%2C+Gabe+Macias%0A%28back+row%29+Chris+Salinas+and+Timothy+Grant+celebrate+a+superior+rating+at+the+Virginia+Marching+Band+Assessment.+Photo+courtesy+of+TCW+Band.
Pictured left to right: (front row) Rahkeem Smith, Ewan Thompson, Jamison Taylor, Gabe Macias (back row) Chris Salinas and Timothy Grant celebrate a superior rating at the Virginia Marching Band Assessment. Photo courtesy of TCW Band.

Band Places in Regional Competition, Attains ‘Superior’ Rating

Katie Mathews and Eliza Coast

The T.C. Williams Marching Titans, under the direction of Timothy Grant and Douglas Rogers, work tirelessly to perform music at football games and competitions, but are often under appreciated for all their hard work. The band is seen at almost every home football game, and select away games, using their music to pep up the fans and the team. Their six to seven minute long halftime show, which has been perfected by work done throughout the entire summer, shows the great talent of the Marching Titans. 

While most fall sports start their season halfway through the summer, marchers begin looking at the show music for the upcoming season as early as the previous May, and rehearse the music throughout July. Marchers are required to attend at least three of the five two hour long music rehearsals held in July, in which students work on mastering and memorizing the show music in preparation for band camp.

Along with marching band, the color guard starts preparing early for the season with various clinics in the spring. A week before band camp begins, guard spends time perfecting their fundamentals and basics. These practices are around four hours long for five days. They ensure the upcoming season and band camp go smoothly. 

Band camp is two weeks in August with nine hour practices in which marchers learn how to succeed in the upcoming season. Each day includes up to three hours of marching fundamentals, then up to three hours of learning drill (telling marchers where to stand relative to the yard lines and hashes for every moment of the show), two hours of music rehearsals, and two hours of putting together fundamentals, drill, and music. Band camp alone makes up 90 hours of the approximate 111 hours of practice and rehearsal in summer. 

Marchers in fundamentals block at band camp in August. Photo courtesy of Chris Salinas.

Grant said that often the most difficult thing for new and returning marchers is to adjust to not only making sure they are playing the memorized music at a high level, but making sure they are marching to every spot on the field (around 50 different spots per person) with the proper marching technique. 

In the week leading up to the beginning of school, practice is held from three to six, five days of the week on the Chinquapin field. Once school starts, marchers have rehearsal three times a week, each rehearsal being two and a half hours long. They must attend football games on Friday nights and competitions on most Saturdays throughout the first months of school. 

Competitions tend to be a full day commitment, lasting around eight to nine hours each. At these competitions, marching bands of all sizes from across Virginia compete against each other in a variety of categories including music, general effect, visual performance, percussion, and auxiliary (the color guard). 

Between practices, games, and competitions, marchers spend around 22 to 23 hours rehearsing and performing per week. 

“This past season, I found that I had very little time to do things outside of marching band and school…and it was a challenge balancing all of my school work which caused me to get a little behind.” said senior Ewan Thompson. Grant also acknowledged how time consuming marching band can be, but makes the point that it helped him develop time management skills during his time as a marcher.

Despite the amount of work and time it takes, marching band is often overlooked by those who do not realize the effort that goes into preparing a show for football games and competitions. However, Grant recognized that with more awards and titles, the Marching Titans are receiving more appreciation and recognition for all the hard work they do. 

Senior and Drum Major Matthew Cheung conducts this year’s show titled Survival of the Fittest at the Virginia Marching Band Assessment. Photo courtesy of TCW Band.

This fall season, the Marching Titans received a variety of awards and titles at competitions. Percussion received a 2nd place rating at the first competition, Colgan Classic. The band went on to Stafford Invitational and earned 2nd place overall in class 3A, 2nd place for music, and 2nd place for visuals. Additionally, the Marching Titans earned 2nd place overall in class 3A, 2nd place in general effect, and 2nd place for percussion at the Lee-Davis Tournament of Champions. 

To close out the competition season, the Marching Titans scored the highest possible rating, a superior, for the first time since 1988 at the Virginia Marching Band Assessment. 

Marching band members react to winning “Superior” rating at the Virginia Marching Band Assessment. 

“From early mornings at band camp to late nights at competitions, we pushed through, learned, and got stronger together…Marching band really is the best family I could possibly ask for, and I cannot even begin to express how proud I am to be a member of this year’s Marching Titans.” said sophomore Ella Burkhead. 

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The March to Success