Maddie Lahr
Comp 1
Observation 2
10/23/18
Marching Band Takes the Field

There is a new sight to see this year at the Maquoketa Valley home football games. The
Maquoketa Valley marching band has finally made its return, with a half time show that the
crowds at MV haven’t seen in years. In the recent past MV didn’t have a halftime performance
during football games due to the little attention the band was given. Since the high school has
gotten a new band director he has made many good changes to the program, one of them being
bringing back the marching band.

Mr. Ford came to MV last year and has been changing things up in the band program.
Out of the things changed, the one thing that is getting the most attention is definitely the
marching band. The program made many strides in the last year and a half with Mr. Ford being
here. Many people in the community are also noticing the work he has accomplished. A parent,
Tina Weber says, “Every show you guys get better.” The band is not only getting a lot of support
now from the student section but also the older generation. Mr. Meehan, a retired teacher from
MV who is well respected by the community, voiced his opinion to Mr. Ford about the band. Mr.
Meehan stated, “You guys sound really good this year.” To hear this from someone who is so
well respected is such a confidence booster for the band.

Speaking of confidence, Mr. Ford stated, “Marching band has 100% boosted their
confidence throughout the year.” He also said that the band is more comfortable with performing
now than what they were last year. He believes getting out there and showing the community
what they can do helps with confidence greatly. He also stated that being in marching band has
forced the band to use more air when playing their instruments. Making the band louder and
sound more confident.

Mr. Ford also stated that he has no future plans to have the marching band compete.
“This way we can still have the football players, cross country runners, and the other band
students who wouldn’t want to go full out marching band.” If the band were to compete there
would be practices every morning and afternoon to perfect every little detail about the band.
Many other schools in the area do compete but because they compete they lose valuable
members that are involved in other things. That is just something that Mr. Ford doesn’t want to
sacrifice, he wants the band to be diverse and involved in many other activities here at MV.
This year the MV marching band has two drum majors who help assist Mr. Ford in
conducting the band, Maddie Lahr and Madeline Gellerson. Madeline stated she would
recommend younger students in band to try being a drum major, “I was always a quiet person
and I didn’t really talk to other people. It forces you to communicate and it made me come out of
my shell.” Being a drum major does put some weight on your shoulders, because the band is
looking to you for tempos and as a way to stay together. Some people wouldn’t change it for the
world. You become a role model for the younger students to look up to and ask questions to.
There are many times where Mr. Ford is busy and a drum major goes and answers a question that
he doesn’t have the time to answer. A lot of the time drum majors are more there to keep Mr.
Ford on track, and to make sure that he remembers to talk about everything that he wants to talk
about. There are many ways to get involved in leadership positions in high school, and being a
drum major is one of them. If a person is willing to work hard and do a good job then maybe
being a drum major is for them.

Marching band may not be as popular now as what it was here fifteen years ago, but Mr.
Ford is trying to change that. The goal of this year was to play songs that the crowd would sing
to and want to pay attention to. This year the marching band theme is classic rock, with their
songs being “September,” by Earth Wind and Fire, “Come Sail Away,” by STYX and their show
closer being “Livin’ On a Prayer,” by Bon Jovi. He is hoping that by choosing popular songs it
would captivate the audience and make them pay attention to the very precise drill that had been
created.