Shawnee Marching Band Home Show- 2021


Let’s set the stage. A cadence ricochets throughout home stands and away stands alike. 60 students march in perfect synchronization as they make their way to the center of their field. The crowd cheers as their band take the field for the final performance of the night. 

On October 2nd, Shawnee high school hosted a plethora of marching bands in their very first home show in almost two years. More than a dozen bands showed up to perform and compete on the large, blue ´S´ that marks our turf. If you were not able to make it, you missed out on quite a night.

The Shawnee Marching band is 59 students tall, with 8 color guard members, and 51 musicians. While not the largest band in Shawnee history, they are making their way in notoriety all the same. 

“There are two band classes,” 2021 marching band director Pamela Czekay informed me. “We are in the A-class, and we have managed to get the highest score in every competition we have performed in.”

The band currently stands at second place out of the entire group 2A.

I asked several seniors about how they are handling the success of their final season.

¨There is a definite pressure to keep doing well, but I don’t let it get to me in a negative way.¨ Drum major Lily Kent informed me. ¨I keep trying to do well and continue on successfully.¨

¨It is definitely a lot of pressure. I’ve cried twice this season.” Color guard captain Leah Lentz goes on to say. ¨But at the end of the day, I´m really excited.¨

During the home show, every member of the marching band was required to help out the band parents. Underclassmen students worked concessions, admission booths, and the ´grams´ tent. 

Seniors, however, were to show the other performing bands around the school and help them on and off the field. 

¨I have never done it before, but I think it is a lot of helping and making sure everything is going well.” One of the said seniors responded when asked. ¨It´ll be a lot of fun.¨ 

Unlike other competitive clubs, the Shawnee marching band tends to get along with their rivals.  ¨Everyone is really nice. We all get along when we go on retreat and stuff. There is a lot of support.¨

Every band performed to the best of their abilities. Judges, spectators, and marching bands that had already performed watched with rapt attention with every new note that was played, and every skillful toss of a brightly colored flag. 

¨I think this will be our best performance,” Lily Kent told me. ¨And I can’t wait to see how other bands do.¨

As for how our home band performed, well, I will just let their score of 90.6 speak for itself.

Several members of the band´s color guard spoke to me about what their job entails. ¨It is a lot of dancing, blood, sweat, tears, and fun! It is a really close bond that you form [with the other members]. You build up a lot of mental toughness, and it just makes you feel so powerful.¨

Color guard is only one of the many gears that keep the marching band running, of course. The show would not be the same without their many, wonderful group and even solo performers.

¨When you first start, it is really scary.¨ Trumpet soloist Cassidy Farnum tells me.  ¨It also takes a lot of focus to keep on the right track.¨ 

The show is currently about 6 minutes long, with three different movements, and one more to be added within the next two weeks. The members have to memorize four different sheets of music, and their routine while keeping perfect form and playing all at the same time.

While it is a lot of work, the students and staff are more than happy to get the chance to perform on their home turf. 

¨The home competition is more special than usual.¨ Ms. Czekay tells me. ¨The kids have a lot more support during home games. They have friends, family, former alumni, all coming together to see their show.¨

Cass Farnum continues, ¨I´m super excited. The show is really sentimental. Lots of people are coming to watch, people that have helped me a lot in my journey, and I really want to make them proud.¨

Lily Kent went on to say, ¨I am most excited to hear all of our parents cheering when we perform¨

For seniors and juniors, this is their second home show, the first one having occurred two years prior, right before Covid. However, upperclassmen are not the only ones anticipating the show. 

¨I´m excited.” A first-year marcher reveals. ¨I´m not worried about people seeing me perform.¨

While there is a lot of work involved in marching band, students are encouraged to join this wonderful group of students.

¨The marching band is a life-changing place– for everybody. It doesn’t matter what level you are, if you are super advanced, or you have never touched an instrument. We will take you in, no matter what, and teach you.¨ Ms. Czekay enthusiastically tells me.

I asked several students what their advice was to anyone that was considering joining the band. 

¨Do it. Without a question, do it. It is a lot of hard work and dedication, but you´ll make the best friends you´ll ever have and it’s a really rewarding experience.¨ Says marching band senior, Lily Kent.

¨OMG, please join!” Leah Lentz exclaims. ¨It’s one of the few things where you really get what you put into it. If you put in a lot of effort, it shows, and you really get to see the progress you have made from beginning to end.

Cassidy Farnum claims,¨You will form so many close bonds, that you will never be able to replicate with anything else you do.¨

Marching band, like many other clubs and activities, took a low blow during quarantine. No competitions were being held, nobody practiced marching, and only three meetings were held during the entire season. 

The 2021 band managed to go from all of that, to be second in their class, and having to perform in front of strangers and friends alike. 

Ms. Czekay says. ¨I´m not nervous. We haven’t marched in about two years, with no real contact with each other. These kids worked really hard to get to where they are now, and they should get the chance to show how much progress they have made. Every time we get better or add on to our show, I can’t help but be… inspired.¨

Here is a link to the marching band´s performance.