It’s been a rebuilding year for the Elsberry Indian Marching Band. However, according to Tom Speers, Elsberry Band Conductor and Music Teacher, this year has made leaps and bounds and he couldn’t be happier with the results.
“We made a huge step forward in our approach to marching band,” said Speers. “We found much success and learned a lot.”
What made this year different from previous is the amount of focus they put in to their field show.
“You may not have seen the band marching around town as much, but I promise you we were working,” Speers said. “All students took a big leap forward, which I was very happy about.”
One of their biggest moments this year, according to Speers was at Pinkneyville. With all the hard work they had put in, on making sure it was more a show than a performance, Speers said they left that field knowing they were successful and with a second place trophy.
“We worked so hard on making it a show with great music and in our last performance it was all of that,” said Speers. “Now that we have some experience under our belts the future should only hold bigger bands and greater shows.”
Other recognitions include second place in the Wright City Parade and fourth place overall in the field at Pinkneyville, earning their highest score of the year.
“We also had outstanding scores for both percussion and color guard at all our competitions,” said Speers.
Although he said it would be hard to pick out just a few students that stood out this season, Speers was able to give credit to the Elsberry Drum Majors Sarah Daly and Anne Marie Bufford, for their leadership on and off the field. Others include Zach Barber, who wrote a “great” show and the rest of the drum line, who help make it one the team’s best seasons yet.
When it comes to Barber, Speers said he did a great job taking lead of the color guard and moving it to a new level.
“He was able to add more elements than we’ve seen in the past, such as dance and helping to tell the story of a man in pain,” explained Speers. “I am excited that Zach is going on to bigger better things, he wants to remain active teaching color guards in the St. Louis area and I look forward to having him come back and work with the guard in the future.”
Speers said their goals were fairly simple this season; create a memorable show, which he felt they did and establish a tradition of excellence. This year’s show, which was used at Homecoming and at the Marching Classic, was Nevermore, a rendition between music, march and Edgar Allen Poes, “The Raven.” According to Speers, he had several people tell him it was their favorite show of the competitions and is proud at the hard work the kids put into it; not just from the musical side but in making it an overall great show.
“I feel as though we did all we set out to do,” said Speers. “The kids worked late and hard to make it happen. It was a great feeling for them coming off the field in our final performance. The growth from Mizzou to Pinkneyville was so large it was almost immeasurable. As a teacher that makes me happy.”
Throughout the season, the Marching Band was able to bring home a couple second place finishes. But Speers said it was scoring 38 out of 40 in the music parade that really stood out for him.
“We had only worked on the tune, as a band, about three or four times,” said Speers. “It was such an awesome experience for us and it really shows what the future holds for us.”
But that’s not to say there’s not room for improvement. According to Speers, they still need to improve their marching a little, especially since they are more established.
“Now that we have seen how a marching band is supposed to work, we need to implement it going forward, as we really didn’t spend a lot of time on it this season,” said Speers. “But I promise next year will be different.”
And what does the future hold? Well according to Speers it’s a 60-70 person band that is sure to wow the crowds at the football games.
“I would like to thank the parents who drive their kids to band, listen to them practice, help me carry equipment on and off the field, drive the buses, load and drive the trailers and make my life easier,” said Speers. “Without them there wouldn’t be a band. I can only do so much and they pick up the slack.”
Going forward, Speers said they will continue in the direction of more original music with the blend of a themed story.
“Marching Band is truly music in motion and without the show we might as well sit in a chair and play,” said Speers. “I look forward to wowing the crowd again next year.”