Drum Major–is your band ready?
The clock counts down. 3…2…1… The Cherokee Band of Warriors now scurry across the field. Everyone in the audience has fallen into a heavy, hushed silence, and band members stand more stoically and proudly than any moment before. Hearts are racing, and some hope the judges won’t notice the nerves. It’s band competition time.
Drum majors are getting in position, ready to direct the band for their Wizard of Oz performance. October and early November is competition season, and our band has been building towards this all season long. During football season, the band has been performing the show during halftime with great response.
As the music begins, the color guard presents flags in black and white symbolically representing the movie’s initial sepia tones before Dorothy awakened to her newfound confidence over the rainbow.
On the field, viewers can see a sweet, cottage home in the background made as a unique prop for the show giving the audience a feeling of reminiscence and awe. The theme of finding one’s way home is uniquely presented in many different ways in this show providing the audience with a sense of pride in their own places to call home.
The Cherokee Band of Warriors director, Garrick Cheyne, has put in a tremendous amount of work directing the band this year. Nobody except band and color guard members know how much time and effort it takes to put on a jaw dropping performance. To get a better understanding we asked Mr. Cheyne a couple questions.
How long does the band practice for?
“Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-8 pm, plus 2 weeks in the summer and some Saturdays.
What inspired the themes for this year’s show?
“The 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz”
Why do you believe the music fits the theme?
“The show is entitled ‘The Long Road Home,’ which aptly describes the plot of Wizard, but there are also numerous songs used not from Wizard that include the word home in the title.”
If there was one thing that you could tell the band, what would it be?
“Hard work pays off. Always.”
What made you want to be a band director?
“I enjoy music and I LOVE watching students grow in both maturity and musicality. My jobs affords me the opportunity to do both”
What is your favorite part of the job?
“Learning from the best and brightest students at CHS”
What is the bands ranking?
“While bands don’t specifically have rankings, we scored 91 at our first contest and placed 4th out of 19 bands. We have had a great week of practice and are excited to improve in the coming weeks.”
What was one of your proudest moments preforming with your band?
“I am SO proud of the band every time they take the field or stage because of their preparation and hard work. To pick one moment would feel like a disservice to any of the students who were here in my decade at CHS.”
What do you hope to accomplish with the band by the end of the year?
“I hope that every senior interested in participating in college band has that opportunity. I hope to continue our streak of superior ratings at state evaluation in March. I hope that every ensemble and every individual improves daily. I hope to become a better teacher.”
In addition to the time invested by both band members, staff, and parents, the band relies heavily on outside support.
According to the band’s Facebook page, “The logistics of supporting a production of this magnitude are daunting. Two enclosed equipment trailers, SIX buses, 230 meals for each road trip, 230 post performance snacks, tens of thousands of dollars of instruments and equipment, 255 flags, rifles, sabres, brooms, choreography, design, uniforms, alterations, specialized staff, and music.” They depend on contributions and continuous support from the community.
The Cherokee Band of Warriors has put in a tremendous amount of work to pull of their show this season. Tireless days of practicing in the heat– knowing very well they would rather be at home watching TV in their pj’s. However, most know that these efforts have a lifelong impact such as building memories, teamwork skills, and opening doors to other music opportunities.