Washburn marching band plays on with fewer members

Brandon Bills

Building physical stamina is key before ever setting foot on the field. Not only for the football team, but for the marching band, as well.

“It’s so physically demanding,” said Laura Wywadis, trumpet. “We had to start early.”

While some students were enjoying their last days free from studying, members of the Washburn Marching Band were up and headed to band camp the week before classes began. It was held Monday through Friday, and the band practiced from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, beginning an hour earlier than last year.

“If we hadn’t started to work as early and as a hard, we wouldn’t be able to march the show with the stamina we need,” said Wywadis.

Not only are they working harder, they are working harder with fewer people.

“It’s a lot smaller this year,” said James Kirkwood, trumpet.

According to the band’s roster, 93 students were enrolled in the marching band during the ’07-’08 school year, compared to only 56 for the ’08-’09 school year. With a smaller marching band, the quality of each musician’s performance takes on greater importance. In response, each member has stepped up, taking greater ownership.

“We were worked so much harder this year,” said Wywadis, speaking of the week-long band camp.

Members of the drum line started band camp early on the Thursday before the other sections. According to Kelsey Cook, the earlier start allows the drum line to act as an inspiration for the rest of the band.

“We set the standard,” said Cook, snare drum.

The drum line also meets to practice an hour earlier than the rest of the band, which meets to practice every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

“This is a professional group and we have to meet that standard,” said Lucas Whippo, snare drum.

Wywadis is excited to see the additional hard work paying off. While she admits that this year’s marching band requires a lot more of what she describes as “mental toughness,” she says that it has been worth it.

“At the same time, it’s more enjoyable and we get more out of it,” said Wywadis.