Freshmen Face First Marching Band Competition


Amanda Hail playing in the stands at a football game.

Freshmen are getting ready for their first marching band competition. The band practices eight hours a week, and the competition hours will bring the total up to 16 hours. Freshman Amanda Hail plays the flute and can’t wait to perform. Hail has competed at Hershey Park with Carl Sandburg’s band students, but this will be her first time marching and performing.

“I am excited to watch all of the other schools’ marching bands and perform in front of them,” Hail says. “I look forward to seeing how our band scores.”

Hail and the other band students at West Potomac rehearse after school three times a week, but that’s nothing compared to two weeks of 9 hour days at band camp over the summer. Hail has played the flute for five years and her private lessons have also prepared her for the competitions.

“We have definitely prepared a lot for this competition, and the camp really helped out with learning the marching fundamentals.” Hail said.

When asked who or what was her motivation, Hail held herself to a high standard.

“In order for the show to be great, everyone needs to do their very best,” Hail said. “I’m motivated by that because I know that my performance will impact the band’s score just like everyone else’s will, and we want to earn the highest score possible.”

Freshman percussion player Bella Hoecker has an older sister who was in marching band, so she looks up to older students.

“My motivation is to win,” Hoecker said. “What motivates me is the seniors who have done it before.”

Hoecker looks forward to their show under the bright lights.

“My favorite part of the competition will be the actual performance because we all get to showcase our talent,” Hoecker said. “I also look forward to the bus ride.”

Although there are some challenges that the freshmen anticipate, Hail and Hoecker have thought of strategies to deal with their stress during the competitions.

“I just look at the drum major if I have problems,” Hoecker said.

Hail works just as hard in performance as she does at practice.

“While we perform we should think about the performance being another run of what we practiced,” said Hail. “We should try our best and focus on what we’ve been taught instead of the prospect of being judged.”