Marching band makes strides in a successful season

Julia Wasik, News Editor

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This season was unlike any other typical marching season for the Grayslake Central Marching Rams. The Grayslake Central Marching band received the best drum majors award at their first competition at Grayslake North High School under the direction of Dominic Bertino. The marching band then went on to get the 3rd best brass section, 2nd best woodwinds section, and the 2nd best drum major award at the Marengo Marching competition where they received third overall, only losing to Prairie Ridge by 3/10th of a point.  At their last competition on October 22, 2018, at Sandwich High School, the band finished 4th overall out of 15 bands, receiving the 2nd place in Class AA and best Visuals in Class AA. This year, the marching band’s show theme was Cirque du Soleil “Kaa” which director Dominic Bertino picked to challenge the band.

This success reflects many changes in the band this year. Beginning at marching band camp at the end of July, the drum majors worked to improve the organization of the band. Part of this organization is section leaders, who lead their individual sections depending on their instrument. Section leaders serve to keep their sections on task, in the correct spot, and looking and sounding good on the field.

“With section leaders in the past, we’ve just had section leaders be in the front of the group during band camp. And that’s really all that they did. But this year, we actually had multiple meetings with them throughout the season,” said senior Drum major Steven Turnbull. This, he says, was helpful because It brought more insight into where the band could improve.

“Another thing [that was added for organization]  was … a schedule so the band can see what’s going on when, instead of just always asking and being confused,” said Turnbull. Along with structural changes, there was more of a focus on improving the band through technical aspects.

“There’s more emphasis on like cleaning sets, and we got our visuals done really early this year, so we could perfect them for our shows… we worked on dynamics a lot and just like our timings of everything. And making sure and visuals all happened right at the same time and not like offbeat,” said junior band member Corinne Heidloff. Visuals are choreographed movements done at a specific “set” or piece of the show, that add feeling and style to the theme. Dynamics are the volume levels expressed throughout the show.

Apart from technicalities, a lot of the band’s success was setting up a balance between work and socializing.
“Something that we really wanted to achieve this year was getting everyone on the same page that like band can be fun and like serious at the same time,” said senior drum major Gautami Sonarikar. Similarly, junior drum major Olivia Garcia noticed this change in the band as well.  “I think a lot of our underclassmen are realizing that band is a lot more serious than it maybe was in middle school and that its a lot more hard work,” said Garcia.

“I do think this year that a lot more people this year that have stepped up to the plate and really understood their place in the band and how much they affect how others how others present themselves as a member of the band,” said junior drum major Olivia Garcia.

It is clear from the success in their season that the marching band has really improved. But it is not all feather plumes, drum beats, and blaring brass. A key point to their success has been the amazing camaraderie that makes this success possible.

I would love Rampage readers to realize that, yes, we are a bunch of nerds that walk in crazy forms and play horns and wave flags, but we have so much fun and accomplish so much together,” said junior drum major Sara Zittler.

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