by Susan O’Neill
KANELANDâ€”The Kaneland High School marching band’s hard work this summer paid off on Sept. 26, when it took first place in its class, as well as best percussion, best color guard and best overall effect in a marching band competition held in Rockford.
The seventh annual Phantom Regiment Band Fest featured a total of 10 bands in the northern Illinois area. Not only did the Kaneland band win recognition in its class by size, but Kaneland came home with the second-highest score overall.
Band teacher Aaron Puckett said the group did an excellent job during the competition and had worked hard to put their show together. They have been practicing for the past four months.
â€œThis is definitely noteworthy,â€ Puckett said. â€œIt was a big boost to the esprit de corps.â€
According to Puckett, most of the 81 members joined the band in fifth grade, the first time it is offered to students as a class. He said that most of the students also take private lessons on their instruments, in addition to practicing with the band during the week.
The band plays during half times for football games, in parades for village festivals and in several marching band competitions during the year.
This is the first time the band has won a first place award, he said.
â€œIt’s really fantastic,â€ High School senior and drum major Chelsea Robert said. â€œTo win the first competition of the season is a big boost. The band’s really motivated this year.â€
Robert, who played saxophone in the band for the past six years, said the marching band is like one big family.
â€œEverybody contributes to something really big,â€ she said.
She said that marching while playing an instrument is probably the hardest part.
â€œIt’s very much a sport,â€ she said. â€œWe train, compete, practice. There’s a million things you have to think about.â€
Robert said the color guard adds a good visual element to the music. High School junior Brock Feece, also a drum major, said the band is playing well-written music this year.
Feece said the band members have stepped up their game this year.
â€œIt’s exciting to see it pay off,â€ he said.
The band plays in two more competitions this year; one in Marengo the weekend of Oct. 10 and11, and the Illinois State University High School Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Photo: Kaneland marching band members practice for their next competition in Marengo on Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo by Susan Oâ€™Neill