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Sis boom! South Carroll's marching band back on the field

In the early minutes of the second quarter, drum major Emily Crowe, front, gets the Cavaliers Marching Bank in line before marching onto the field at South Carroll High School for the halftime show.
In the early minutes of the second quarter, drum major Emily Crowe, front, gets the Cavaliers Marching Bank in line before marching onto the field at South Carroll High School for the halftime show. (Photo by Scott Serio)

Seventy-six trombones may not lead South Carroll High School's marching band onto the field, but the 30-plus members of the band can march onto their home field with pride.

After an 11-year absence, the band is back in motion, and while it may not be ready for competitions, it proudly "wows" the crowd at all home football games.

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Their two musical numbers — complete with marching and a color guard twirling flags — mark a triumphant for the students, parents and school as several years of planning and fundraising – to the tune of $40,000 — paid off.

"It's very exciting to see this happen," said Kathy Williams, instrumental band boosters president, at a recent Friday night performance. "One of the best things is the support of the student body, to see them supporting something like this."

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On a perfect early fall evening last month, the crowd clapped its approval when the band performed and cheered along with fight songs when the band played in the stands. The football team crushed county rival Century, 35-0. The triumph was the team's second in a row, and first in front of a home crowd.

"I'm really excited they're back," said Allie Redmond, varsity cheerleader coach, of the band. "It's been a long time."

An aspiring music teacher, senior Emily Crowe, 18, tried out for drum major to learn something new.

"I have played the cello for eight years, but it is a little hard to march with," said Crowe, who was selected drum major. "I wanted to do something different. I am so glad I had this opportunity."

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She said the band's first show at the beginning of September went well.

"I was a little nervous," Crowe admitted. "It went off pretty good. It was really hot. We had to take our hats off."

Baritone saxophone player Joseph Fehle, 16, a junior, admitted that the crowd was a little hard to face.

"It helps not looking at the crowd," Fehle said, of performing. "Just looking at (Crowe) is so much easier."

Keeping everyone together, both musically and marching, has proven more challenging than it looks, Crowe said.

"You have to make sure everybody is at the spot they need to be," Crowe said. "You have to keep the beat going. There is a lot of responsibility."

The group first came together in August for a short band camp, according to John Stevenson, band director. It now meets a few days during the week for practice, though many members have other committments to sports and school groups.

"I'll always take more," Stevenson said, who would like to see numbers grow. "We have great feeder schools. Numbers are going to increase."

For the last few years, a pep band has played in the stands at home football games. To have a marching band is even more rewarding according to Steve Luette, South Carroll's head football coach.

"The last couple of years, the band has participated at the football games by having a pep band in the stands and this has helped rally the fans during the games," wrote Luette in an e-mail. "I am glad they have been able to increase their numbers to the point where they have been able to take the next step regarding performances.

"It's nice to have halftime entertainment for the fans to give them a show to watch."

The eight-member color guard, led by senior Juliana Garrison, 16, color guard captain, was able to perform for both of the band's numbers at its second appearance. At its first, it only performed during one song, as the group was still working on its chorography for one piece.

"We had someone from Century (High School) come and teach us," Garrison said. "She choreographed one number. We took over the other and taught ourselves (the second). We did the chorography as a group.."

"It is such an awesome experience," Garrison added. "None of us have ever been in color guard."

As he watched his daughter, Elena, perform with the color guard, Tim Manco was proud.

"To put this together in a month...the band and the band director should be proud," Manco said.

"The kids seem to enjoy it," agreed Ken Daniel, Jr., whose son, Ken Daniel III plays trumpet. "The uniforms are awesome."

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