Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 15, 2013

Orange Express the best!

The THS marching band took first-place honors at the Pryor Band Contest Saturday. But what does it take to come out on top?

TAHLEQUAH — Contest day for a member of the Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band is a study in stamina and dedication.

Contests are generally held on a Saturday, following a night of marching at the THS Tigers’ Friday night football game. On game day, band members rarely get home before midnight and are back in action a few short hours later for contest.

Oct. 11-12 marked a contest weekend. After playing at the Coweta football game, the band was set to compete in the 37th annual Pryor Band Day contest Saturday.

The Orange Express’ field time in Pryor was 2:15 p.m., allowing ample time for early-morning practice and travel time. Students began arriving at 8 a.m. for what would become a 15-hour enterprise.

The band assembled on the THS practice field to drill the days’ upcoming performance. Band directors and staff Josh Allen, Orien Landis, Amy Clark, Darice Osborn, Brian Tschirhart and Josh Leach worked with the group, going over sections of songs, repeating, correcting minor inconsistencies and starting again.

“You have to look at your drum major; otherwise, the timing will be off. Then the woodwinds won’t have a lead to hear,” said Allen. “We’re going to start again, and if we make it through this section without error, we’ll move on.”

After about an hour of intense drill, the band broke up and returned to the bandroom, where band boosters and parents had a light lunch waiting. Students ate, changed into their “bibbers” – uniform overalls – and checked to make sure they had all the necessary performance equipment.

 Invariably, a black sock has been forgotten, shoes have been left at home, or a glove is missing. All issues are remedied before boarding the bus. As the students file out of the bandroom, a uniform check is conducted: instrument, hat box, gauntlets, gloves, socks and shoes are all accounted for.

After arriving at the Pryor High School football field, the final pieces of the uniform were donned, coats were checked for lint, the green “Contagion” strips of fabric were affixed to both shoulders of the coats, plumes for the hats were distributed and gauntlets fixed in place.

Practice makes perfect          – or almost so

Allen directed the band to the practice field, where once again, drills were run, instructions given, and encouragement offered by the directors.

At 2:15 sharp, the Orange Express took the field for its preliminary performance, playing its “Contagion” show, featuring the songs “Radioactive,” “Mad World” and “Night on Bald Mountain.” The crowd responded positively, and the 8 minutes flew by.

After leaving the stadium, the band re-assembled at the buses and waited for comments from Allen and Landis.

“I think that was a great run,” said Allen. “It really could not have been any better. But, we have to remember, we can only be responsible for our performance. We have no control over how the other bands perform.”

Instructions were given to the band to sit in the stands to watch competitors play. Saturday’s preliminary event included 24 bands, classes 4A through 6A. Schools attending included Fort Gibson, Sallisaw, Catoosa, Thomas Edison Prep, Tulsa Memorial, Grove, Muskogee, Ponca City, Charles Page and Neosho, Mo, to name a few.

The band, directors, boosters and parents filed into the stands, anxious to check out the contest. The kids analyzed their own performance, as well as the execution of others, along with having some light-hearted fun to break the tension.

At 4:45 p.m., preliminaries ended and judging for finals was announced. Of the field of 24, only 12 bands – including the Orange Express – were selected to play in the final round. THS snared preliminary trophies for first place in the 5A field contest, first place in the 5A percussion section contest, and second place in 5A color guard contest.

The Orange Express drew an 8:15 p.m. field time for finals, allowing ample time for the kids to grab hamburgers and hot dogs, provided by the boosters. They talked, played hacky sack and napped before taking the practice field for a final drill at dusk.

At 8:15, the moment of truth had come. The Orange Express was announced, and band members filed onto the field, lining up from sideline to sideline on the east end zone.

As the final performance commenced, fans, parents and members of competing bands clapped and cheered at crucial parts: a good crescendo, a perfect transition, or a flawless formation.

Waiting: Bated breath,    fingers crossed

Then the waiting began. Fortunately, the Orange Express only had to wait a little over 90 minutes for the results. For anyone who has not attended a band contest, the final awards announcement involves the “massing of the bands.” Each band competing in finals takes its place on the field, with drum majors standing before their respective bands. Once assembled, the massing takes up the entire length of the field.

Saturday, the announcer began with the 12th-place finisher, and employed a delay between, “In 12th place,” and announcing the name of the band. About midway through the placing, the announcer named the caption awards, further building anticipation.

The Orange Express received a first-place finals caption award for its percussion section, being judged against all 12 bands, classes 4A through 6A.

Slowly, the field was narrowed to two bands: the Orange Express and Catoosa. After hearing they had not come in second, leaving only first place to be awarded, members of the Orange Express could hardly contain themselves.

Then, the announcement that the Orange Express had won the contest came, amid shrieks, shouts and whoops from both the students and the crowd.

Back at the buses, Allen and Landis praised the band.

“It could not have been any better; this is the best performance you have ever given,” said Allen.

Landis let the band know it had crested a summit.

“You have emerged from the cocoon,” said Landis. “You are not the same band you were yesterday, and you never will be after tonight.”

Monday, Allen congratulated both the students and staff for working so hard.

“Saturday’s results are a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of all of our students and staff,” said Allen. “Tahlequah is an amazing place, and it’s so great to see it shine on such a large stage.”

Saturday’s trophies are on display in the THS administration building, and Allen encourages everyone to stop by and take a look. The Orange Express will perform “Contagion” Thursday at halftime, when the Tigers take on Tulsa Central at Doc Wadley stadium at 7 p.m.

CHECK IT OUT

The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band’s preliminary performance of “Contagion” at Saturday’s Pryor Band Day contest can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=szsy-wlqpsFg&feature=share.

tsnell@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Stocks