marching band, Emerald Regiment, began boarding buses at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 for its first competition of the season at the Tiger Ambush Classic in Edwardsville, IL. The band practiced from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. that morning and performed at the varsity home football game the night before. Though, the first immense struggle that surged for the band was not fatigue nor was it overheating, but one of the three school buses getting stuck in a parking lot.
Five minutes into the drive, senior Kailey Beaty said she noticed her bus was heading back toward RBHS. When they got to the lot, one of the other buses was stuck between a black truck parked on the edge of the parking lot and an island, and the bus had bent a teacher parking sign.
The angle of the sign prevented the bus from advancing forward without receiving damages. Band director Patrick Sullivan and assistant band director Josh Myers, along with assistance from one of the one of the bus drivers, tugged down and jumped on top of the sign, bending it so that the bus could safely pass. All the while, the Emerald Regiment was cheering the teachers on from inside the buses.
“I looked out the left side of the bus and saw Mr. Myers yanking and stomping down the teacher parking sign, so the bus would be able to drive over that curbed island and free itself. I honestly cannot tell you why I was cheering so loudly about Mr. Myers stomping down that sign. Maybe because it looked so comical, or because it was a teacher having to damage school property about teachers,” Beaty said. “I was sad because that ordeal delayed us around 45 minutes so we didn’t get to watch as many bands perform at the competition, but the humorous sight of Mr. Myers made up for a lot of that and made for some good storytelling as well.”
When the sign fell and the teachers reentered the buses to join the applauding teenagers, the buses finally rolled out of the parking lot.
arrived in Edwardsville High School in Edwardsville, Illinois two hours later. The group performed later that night at 8:00 p.m., the third to last group to present. The first show, Beaty said, sets the tone for the rest of the season.
“The first competition for us is always an interesting experience because it’s the first time in a while that a lot of us have marched and competed, and for people new to the band, it’s their first time ever performing for a group like this,” Beaty said. “Sometimes it’s not until after the first competition that people truly invest themselves into the band, because they finally realize what we’ve been working these long hours for.”
Emerald Regiment themes since Beaty’s freshman year
Story of My Life (2015)
Classically Twisted (2016)
Why So Blue? (2017)
When the Clock Strikes 12 (2018)
The theme for this year’s show was a combination of haunting melodies and fun, called “When the Clock Strikes 12.” The production includes many creepy props such as tombstones, a large set of black gates and a crypt, that add to the melodic music and ghostly movements of the marching band.
Color guard uses the ominous atmosphere and showcases a chilling vibe through its costumes and choreography. The guard members dress up as skeletons; wearing black body suits with white bones on the front, white face paint with black painted eyes and wave large, white bones as they dance. Their choreography , junior Ava Gorham said, depict eerie characters. The show begins with planned improv; members crawl on the ground, claw at the audience or even throw each other around.
The Tiger Ambush Classic was Gorham’s first competition. She admitted she felt nervous beforehand, but said focusing on the show and amazing features RBHS brings helps her perform.
“I love second movement, it’s much more somber than the rest of the show and gives us a chance to work with silks in a way a lot of guards don’t. We have large white sheets we get to dance with in the second movement,” Gorham said. “Because of how melancholy the movement is, we really get to play up being ghosts and longing for the friends and adventures we had when we were alive. It’s a nice break from being ghoulish and chaotic in the first movement.”
Unlike Gorham, Beaty has been a part of marching band since her freshman year. Every show is special to her and this year’s performance is no different.
“I love the characterization we have been given the freedom to do for this show. Marching a show is very cool don’t get me wrong, but being able to be a character in this performance brings a whole new level of drawing our audiences in,” Beaty said. “The guard performs their characterization excellently and gives me, and I’m sure for a lot of the band as well, an example of what to look like.”
itself, percussion instructor Noah Petti said, ranges from from 19th Century Romantic, Early Bebop Jazz, Contemporary Minimalist and modern pop with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He was excited to showcase what the students had been working on and was not disappointed by their performance.
“We prefer to keep the focus off the scores and placements,” Petti said. “We placed fourth, but our performance represented the hard work they’ve put in for the past two months, so we walked away with great energy and judges’ comments to help guide our next week of rehearsals.”
The band plans to perform in another competition on Sept. 22 at Lafayette High School. Petti sees the next competition as another opportunity to receive feedback and improve. Plus, he believes if the band members stay as excitable and passionate as they did at the Tiger Ambush Classic, they can really improve and shine.
“We had amazing energy at the competition, so we want to maintain that drive and ambition. Going into next week, we want to focus on our listening roles across the ensemble and work on incorporating more of our show,” Petti said. “Our third movement is very exciting and we’re excited to share it with everybody.”
Beaty looks forward to the rest of her last year in the Emerald Regiment with excitement and optimism. As a leader in the flute section, she’s prepared to help her fellow section members as much as she can while enjoying her last high school halftime show performances and competitions.
“Marchers were giving their all physically and musically, proudly showing off our hard work and what we’ve accomplished. When I say we had our best run yet at Edwardsville, it does not mean we performed it perfectly, it means I’m proud of where we are right now,” Beaty said. “There will always be something to improve on no matter where we are in the season and I am so excited to perform with this group for the rest of this season, and see where we end up by the end.”
Have you seen the Emerald Regiment’s show? Are you excited to see the unrevealed third movement in future games?