The Delaware Hayes Grand Pacer Marching Band will head to the OMEA state finals this Saturday and head to The Ohio State University next Saturday to take part in a Skull Session.
Hayes Band Director Andy Doherty said Wednesday the band is looking forward to the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) state competition Saturday at Hilliard Bradley High School, especially after its last competition was rained out over the weekend.
“It sucked,” Doherty laughed, adding he ultimately chose to pull the band out of the competition at the last minute because of safety concerns. “It was unfortunate, because we worked really hard and had a good week of rehearsal.”
Doherty said the band was practicing ensemble cohesion this week heading into the state finals, but he’s not stressing about the competition.
“We’re making sure everyone is on the same page at the same time,” he said. “A lot of the details are locked in, but it’s more about getting that excitement of performance going. We are more than prepared. We’ve had a really great week and a really great season. We are looking to end the year with our best performance Saturday afternoon.”
The band will start its day with an 8:30 a.m. rehearsal and will depart for Hilliard Bradley at noon. Doherty said they will do the final performance of this year’s show, “Oddly Enough,” at 2:45 p.m.
“I’m a little sad, because it’ll be our last competition,” said junior drummer Adan Spencer Wednesday before drumline practice. “I’m really hoping that we do really well.”
Fellow drummer Ethan Bush said he’s excited to perform but also excited about the friendships he’ll have after the band’s season ends.
“I’m excited for states as usual, but I’m excited for the friendship that comes out of it,” he said. “Yeah, it’s going to be sad, but it’s going to mean that we grew as individuals.”
Doherty added the band will travel to Columbus next Saturday to play in a Skull Session before OSU faces off against Maryland. He said to his knowledge, it’s the first time the band has gone to a Skull Session.
“I think this is our first trip,” Doherty said. “It’s going to be a very cool day for Delaware. The current director at Ohio State (Dr. Christopher Hoch) was the band director here; one of our recent graduates from Hayes (Anna Hurley) is dotting the ‘i’ that day; and (Caleb Richardson) who graduated in May is on the drumline this year. So, it’s a really cool, not even just for current members to be in the Skull Session but for our current members to see former members of the marching band to go on playing their instruments and succeed at the highest levels. So, it’ll be a really cool experience for everyone.”
Spencer said he was looking forward to the Skull Session to see Richardson, a tenor drum player, perform with the rest of the band.
“It’s going to be exciting to see him!” Spencer said.
The Skull Session will be the final band event of the season.
“It’s been our best season yet,” Doherty said. “It’s been a really great group who works really hard and cares a lot about what they do, which has made the season really enjoyable.”