With two marching competitions completed, the Grantsville High School marching band has just one competition left before the state championship competition at the end of this month.
Generally, high school marching bands will take their field shows to several different competitions throughout the fall. The GHS marching band attended the Wasatch Front Marching Band Competition, their first competition of year, on Sept. 22 at Herriman High School.
“This was our first competition, but the other bands we were competing against had been to several competitions before then. We did really well for our first competition,” said Brandon Larsen, GHS’s marching band director.
The Grantsville High Marching Band took third place in their division.
In order to make marching competitions fair, marching bands are spilt up into different divisions based on the number of students that are in each band, as opposed to each school. GHS is placed in the 1A division, with 33 students participating in their marching band.
The Davis Cup Marching Band Competition, the second competition the GHS marching band attended, was held Oct. 18. Even though the band had placed third at their last competition, the band members were looking for improvement.
“After each competition, we look at what we need to work on by looking at our scores and at what the judges have to say,” said Larsen. “At the first competition, we had a problem with percussion, but we looked at what needed to be fixed and made a huge jump in the scores at the next competition. We jumped 40 points.”
Grantsville reached their goal of improving and placed second in the 1A division.
“We were only two points away from placing first,” said Larsen. “We are holding our own ground and the students can see that.”
At the Davis Cup, the judges also awarded Grantsville with the visual caption award.
“The judges watch to see if the students are playing and marching together,” Larsen said. “They are looking for a clean show. They look to see if it’s in tune and if it just sounds nice, They are watching our every move from the second we step onto the field until we step off.”
In order to meet the judges’ criteria, the GHS marching band holds 6 a.m. practices nearly every morning.
“We spend the first part of practice working on the music,” Larsen said. “This is when I’ll stop them from time to time to go over the nitty-gritty details. Another part of practice is spent going over marching drills. We drill over and over, just like a sports team would. Once you get the basics down, the rest will come.”
The next time the GHS marching band will be competing is this Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Mount Timpanogos Marching Band Competition. Again, GHS is hoping for improvement.
“So far, I would definitely consider the season a success,” Larsen said. “There is always, always, always room for improvement. Even if we were to get first place, there will always be things we can work on.”
The marching band will be competing with three different musical selections from the 1986 musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” The musical is about a florist who finds romance with a little help from a giant man-eating plant that ends up taking over the world.
“Not only are we trying to bring the music to life with our playing, but we’re also trying to bring it to life with our drills and visual,” said Larsen.
The final competition for GHS’s marching band this season will be the Red Rocks State Championship Competition in St. George on Oct. 30.
“It doesn’t matter if we place as long as we improve from our last competition,” said Larsen. “At the end of the day, it is an educational experience for the students. I’ll do everything I can to make sure the students are learning from what they’re doing out on the field. Of course, we want to take first place, but it’s not only about winning.”