On Sunday, October 27 the Andover High School marching band won a silver medal in the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) marching band competition. The silver medal was the best in their division. The scoring is not against other bands; rather, they are awarded stars in a number of categories including General Effect (visual and music), Visual Performance, Color Guard, Music Performance, and Percussion. This year the Percussion was awarded four out of five stars, which they have not been able to do since 2006. After hearing that the Percussion was awarded four stars at the competition, the whole band cheered. The new director of the marching band, Ms. Hofias, says that getting a silver medal was “a huge step for our band.”
Working up to the MICCA competition is incredibly difficult. Rehearsals begin with band camp a week before school starts, and the band has on average about four rehearsals a week. The Percussion has eight students, with three students being eighth graders. The Percussion this year is marching, which it only started doing last year, so learning how to march has been especially difficult for them.
Ms. Hofias is not only new to our school, but she is also new to Massachusetts. Having come from Georgia, she is still getting used to the system of scoring in Massachusetts, along with the weather. Musically she finds that the band sounds the same as they do in Georgia, but they are just smaller.
Seeing the marching band at the football games is not the same as seeing them in a competition. They play differently because there is more excitement at a competition. The whole crowd is watching the band at a competition, whereas in football games the audience is taking a break and does not really care about the band. According to Ms. Hofias “the psychic of the crowd feeds into the excitement of the marching band kids” and at competitions the band is surrounded by other band kids from all over Massachusetts. Their excitement feeds into how well they perform.
The band has become incredibly better over the year and will only improve for next year. They will be playing their final performances at the remaining football games of the year.
By Emily Douglas