Students put great effort into marching band


Students in marching band practice their show.

If you go to any of the home football games you might find yourself singing along to the marching band’s half-time show.

The marching band is made up of freshman through seniors and practices every Maroon Day. In addition to playing at every home football game they perform at two marching festivals, and march in both the FHSU and the Hays High Homecoming parades. The two festivals are the Western Athletic Conference Marching Festival on Oct. 16, and High Plains Marching Festival on Oct 23.

“What I’m trying to accomplish is a combination of two things,” Matthew Rome, Director of Bands, said. “One is to keep moves relatively simple for individual musicians so they’re not sprinting across the field or having to take really absurd paths to get somewhere. But also, to try to keep some kind of visual interest up front, so that more often than not, at least part, if not all, of the band is moving. That way, out in front, there is always something happening but nobody’s having to sprint from 20 to 20.”

On average, Rome spends between three and five hours charting and choreographing for each song that the marching band plays in their shows.

“Every person is a dot, and I have to plan every single person,” Rome said. “It’s a matter of coming up with ideas, finding out that the idea doesn’t work, reworking the idea. Then when it’s all said and done, I go back and touch up the charts, taking a sharpie over them so they pop out a little better on the copier, it’s a process.”

After Rome finishes the charts, the students can start to put the show together. Before they get their charts however, students are practicing their music and working on memorization.

“We start in the summer at jump start so we can get started on our new music for the season,” senior saxophone player Gabriela Taliaferro said. “We have lots of practices, mainly early morning rehearsals, so we get to the school by 7:30 most days to run charts and play music or whatever needs to be worked on.”

Unlike in concert season when Rome conducts the band, two students are chosen to be drum majors and they conduct the band. The students are typically juniors or seniors.

“I play the oboe and you can’t march with an oboe,” junior Drum Major Cameron Karlin said. “I decided being a drum major would be more fun, and it is.”

Senior Drum Major Kyra PolifkaWilhelm said that she helps out with everything, doing what Rome needed done when she wasn’t conducting the band.

“The most rewarding parts of marching ban is just seeing the show come together,” Rome said. “Those little aha moments, like when the feet start moving together, start stopping together, when things start to become a cohesive show and not just a series of individual moves.”