The Delaware Grand Pacer Marching Band has already started practicing and rehearsing for its upcoming season.
Band Directer Andy Doherty said this year’s show is called “Villain” and is a “lightly comic book-themed” show made up of original compositions as well as music from Michael Daugherty’s “Metropolis Symphony.”
“It’s really cool and exciting up-tempo music,” Doherty said. “We think it’s going to be a cool theme and really accessible for (new band members). It’s timely and topical. It’s been a cool thing for everyone to buy into.”
Doherty said the band plans to compete in competitions again this year after they were cancelled last year due to the pandemic. He added returning to form has posed extra challenges for students this year.
“We have two classes of members who have not done a competition show,” Doherty said. “We did more extensive leadership training than we’ve done. Leaders come in early before every practice to do additional training. We are using them like staff members and giving them lots of one-on-one time with their sections.”
Doherty said the band did extra practices in the spring and held a couple of marching lessons before getting the whole band together just before summer to go over the music for the show.
As for how the band has progressed so far, Doherty said he’s thrilled by what he’s seen from each and every member.
“They are not only stepping up to the challenge, they are exceeding it,” he said. “They are so awesome. They’re going to be great regardless of the circumstances. They are making it feel like a normal season already.”
Seniors Elaina Bashline and Mackenzie Kunkle are the band’s drum majors this year. Both are excited to get back to competitions.
“(I’m excited) for performing in general,” Bashline said. “I’ve never been a drum major, so to me this is a full new area. I’m excited to feel that adrenaline in a different way. Competitions are something I always looked forward to, I hope they enjoy it the way I did my freshman and sophomore year. (Hearing the band’s score) after you went out there and left it all on the field is an amazing feeling.”
Kunkle said she’s looking forward to “seeing the show come together.”
“When you finally see them move and play at the same is a feeling like no other,” Kunkle said.
Kunkle agreed with Doherty about this year being challenging.
“It’s double harder,” Kunkle said. “We have two classes who have never marched, and we have two drum majors who have never done a competition season. It’s a lot of getting them comfortable with what their doing … but also making sure we understand what we’re trying to do to teach it to them.”
Bashline said she’s looking forward to band camp, which takes place Aug. 2-6.
“Once we get to band camp, I hope that all comes together,” she said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.