Marching Their Way to Success


Junior Hailey Irvin marching with the guard as the marching band enters the field. Photo courtesy of Esa Mayo-Pitts

Maddy Eubank, Fluco Beat Editor

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The Fluvanna County marching band is marching into their upcoming competitions with confidence after two successful competitions so far this fall.

At a competition at Stuarts Draft High School on Sept. 23, the band came in sixth place overall out of 21, as well as third place in their AAA class. In addition, the percussion section came in first place in their class, and the overall team ended with an 84% rating, just short of a superior rating at 85%.

“I really want to see this group get Superlative, which is like an A,” said Michael Strickler, FCHS’ band teacher of ten years.

Strickler said that he and his marching band of 69 students–almost double last year’s 36 students–have been working hard since July in preparation for their competitions. “We’re doing really well with having so many more people than we’re used to,” said Shalon Arrington, a third-year marching band student at FCHS in response to the marching band’s recent success.

A lot of people don’t realize the time and effort it takes to be in the Marching Band. When they receive their music in May, they begin practicing. The band then begins band camp in July, doing the basics, practicing their music, doing drill settings, and putting it all together. They practice for about nine hours a week, and that’s if they don’t have a competition or a game that week, which means extra time.

All this hard work is in preparation for their performances at football halftimes, but also for their five competitions of the season. At their most recent competition in Lynchburg on Oct. 13, the marching band placed sixth overall out of 16 bands and ended with a score of 81.

“Being able to work hard and demonstrate what we’re good about,” is what Arrington said she enjoys about being in the marching band. Strickler agrees. “It’s one of the main reasons why I’m a band teacher. It’s got the best qualities of a sport and of the whole high school experience,” he said, adding, “It’s not just one person that makes the team, it’s the whole team,” he added.

One sometimes unsung part of the band is the color guard, which performs with flags or rifles alongside the marching band during halftime performances and at select competitions. This season, the guard consisted of eight girls, including Emily Antesberger, Rachel Sherman, Jordan Reimers, Amber Sigmann, Gabby Barber, Hailey Irvin, Diana Naselska, and Willow Harrison.

“Honestly, I enjoy everything about [color guard],” said Isis Rodgers, a Fluvanna graduate and former color guard member who is in her second year as the team’s instructor. “I love the people and working together as a team. I love the commitment and determination it takes, and unlike a lot of other sports, we don’t have bench players. Every person has a unique part of the show and without them, the show is incomplete. It really is a small family.”

The guard also participates in some of the competitions with the band. “We have bounced around with our placings, but the scores have been higher than any previous season. The program has grown so much over the years and everyone can tell,” said Rodgers.

The color guard has two seasons, an indoor season as well as an outdoor season. Students interested in participating in the indoor season of color guard may attend auditions on Nov. 14 and 21, from 6 pm to 8 pm in the band room. Weapon tryouts will be Nov. 16 at the same time and location. Students interested in being part of the outdoor season next year should see Strickler in Room 1501.

If anybody is looking to join the marching band next season, they can fill out a form that will be passed out at the end of the year. Although no try-outs are required, you are required to have past experience with playing an instrument.