The Cheney High marching band has added some more hardware to its trophy case.
They swept their division at the Harvest Marching Band Festival in Yakima, Oct. 17. They also won the AA Division – finishing fourth overall – at the Pacific Northwest Marching Band Championships at Joe Albi Stadium, Oct. 10 and were third at the first Washington State University Marching Band Championships in Pullman, Oct. 24.
“This year we are doing well, none of us expected to be this good,” drum major Keenan Loughery said. “It’s an example of the dedication this year’s group has.”
Callie Hollingsworth, flute leader, added that many of the younger students have stepped up in their roles.
“A lot of underclassmen have progressed quickly,” Hollingsworth said. “It wasn’t the easiest year to hop in, and they did it.”
For the Cheney marching band, the season begins at band camp in August. Like some of the fall sports teams, the band had some practices indoors due to the poor air quality from regional wildfires.
The band’s leaders also took a different approach this year during practice. Loughery said the upperclassmen emphasized positive reinforcement and looking at their strengths.
“We’ve seen better results because of it,” Loughery said. “People are more willing to admit when they are wrong when there’s positive reinforcement behind it. Everyone wants to get better.”
The band’s success has carried over into the color guard, who won first place at the Yakima competition. Hannah Simonsen, color guard captain, said this year’s squad had several new members. The color guard also introduced a rifle line into their routines, which she said isn’t “easy to do.”
“You see freshmen come into band camp and our job as veterans is to tell them ‘you can do this, you can succeed like we did,'” Simonsen said.
Cheney football fans watched the marching band’s 2015 show “Introspection.” Loughery said Westwood Middle School teacher Joshua Wisswell came into contact with Alex J. Thode, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee undergraduate. Thode created the music for “Instrospection” specifically for Cheney, while Wisswell wrote the drills.
Loughery explained that “Introspection” is about a cluster of thoughts being lost in chaos, then coming together to form a single thought.
“Part of marching band is entertainment and having elements that will surprise the audience,” Loughery said. “In ‘Introspection’ everyone is going crazy at first. It’s choreographed chaos, in reality we know what we are doing.”
The band accomplishes this by having the color guard and the drumline perform together, which isn’t very common, according to Loughery. Near the end, all performers come together with one of the color guard members being lifted into the air while everyone in the band is playing the same note.
With competition season over, Simonsen said the color guard will perform at halftime during Cheney basketball games. The marching band will perform during Mayfest.
Loughery, Hollingsworth and Simonsen will be graduating this spring. While it will be difficult for them to move on, they’re hopeful that the underclassmen will continue the legacy they’ve established.
“I’m extremely thankful for the time I’ve spent here,” Loughery said. “The directors pushed us in the right direction. I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, though this was a big part of my book.”