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Above and Beyond: BHS band earns 14th consecutive ‘Superior’ rating

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Color guard flags flap loosely in the wind as the band stands at attention

Color guard flags flap loosely in the wind as the band stands at attention on the edge of the field after the performance on Tuesday. The drum majors marched off in the middle of the color guard.

The year 2020 gave the Buffalo High School marching band countless reasons to take things easy and play it safe.

At the beginning of this marching season, there was no guarantee that the band would even have a full season, let alone make it all the way to state competition, according to band director Jason Bennett.

Band camp was moved from Colorado to BHS. The state competition was moved online. The band’s color guard didn’t even have a coach this season.

Parents spread out along the stands to watch the final marching band performance

Parents spread out along the stands to watch the final marching band performance of the year on Tuesday. The show was moved to Tuesday to hopefully avoid the worse weather coming on Wednesday.

Buffalo High School’s students walk down from the school to the football field

Buffalo High School’s students walk down from the school to the football field to watch the marching band perform on Tuesday. The students were invited since the recording was moved from after school Wednesday to during school Tuesday.

It was as good a year as any for the band to take the easy road out, Bennett said, but it did the opposite.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what the score was or what songs they played,” Bennett said. “What matters is that they set goals for themselves and pushed themselves through those goals while performing at a very high level. I think if they had done anything less than that, they would have sold themselves short. And they didn’t sell themselves short this year.”

The BHS band earned its 14th consecutive ‘Superior’ rating at the state marching band competition over the weekend — continuing a dynasty that began when this year’s freshmen were still in diapers. The ‘Superior’ rating is the highest rating possible at state marching, according to Bennett, and of the 21 bands from around the state that competed this year, only 10 earned a ‘Superior.’

“When the announcement was made on Saturday, the kids really didn’t act too surprised,” Bennett said. “They were maybe a little relieved that it was over. But they knew how much they had worked and how much effort they had put in. So when the announcement came, it was just a nice affirmation of the work they had done.”

The judges at the competition had a lot of nice things to say about the band’s performance, particularly the marching, movement and music, Bennett said.

Abigail Marquart lunges to her right during the performance

Buffalo High School’s Abigail Marquart lunges to her right during the performance on Tuesday. The musicians leaned in one direction, stood up and then leaned the other direction in coordination with the music.

Massimo Haas lifts his toe up as me moves forward in large strides

Buffalo High School’s Massimo Haas lifts his toe up as me moves forward in large strides on Tuesday. Massimo was one of the two soloists in the second movement which satirically depicts the “song and dance” spun by the government.

Lilian Cortes Bobbitt steps forward in the second half of the performance

Buffalo High School’s Lilian Cortes Bobbitt steps forward in the second half of the performance on Tuesday. The show was video and audio recorded so as to be submitted for judging at the state level since an in person performance was impossible this year due to COVID-19.

“They had a lot of positive comments on the consistency of the marching technique and our ability to move together as one unit, and a lot of very positive comments on the music — from the drum line to the soloists,” Bennett said. “One of the judges told us that we sounded like a concert band marching on the field, which has been my goal for a while now.”

There were even reasons to celebrate the performance’s weak points, Bennett said.

“The color guard was called out as being a little weaker than the rest of the show,” Bennett said. “But I think they did a truly amazing job this year. There were just four girls, and three of them were freshmen. We haven’t had a consistent coaching staff for the color guard, and there wasn’t a coach at all this year. I think this was the best color guard I’ve seen during my time on the band, and that really speaks well of those girls.”

This year’s marching competition was held online with bands recording their performances and submitting them to judges. Bennett said the competition went off with relatively few hitches despite the new format.

Kaitren Blaney performs her solo in the third movement

Buffalo High School’s Kaitrin Blaney performs her solo in the third movement on Tuesday. The band earned their 14th consecutive Superior rating with this year’s performance, the highest rating available.

Matthew Harrison, left, and Matthew Schlichting line up with the trumpets

Buffalo High School’s Matthew Harrison, left, and Matthew Schlichting line up with the trumpets during the final movement on Tuesday.

Nadeen Dunham peaks around the group

Buffalo High School’s color guard member Nadeen Dunham peaks around the group to see band director Jason Bennett on Tuesday. The band marched off the field and lined up near the end zone before being released from attention.

The band and color guard are reflected in the bells

The band and color guard are reflected in the bells of the sousaphones after the conclusion of the performance on Tuesday. The show includes four movements that explore the world of conspiracy.

“I thought the (Wyoming High School Activities) Association did a nice job of making it consistent with what it’s been in the past,” Bennett said. “I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. While I hope that we can bring back the energy of live music next year, I thought it went about as well as it could.”

Bennett said that he is proud that his band made it to the end of this unconventional season, and that they did so with plenty of style, passion and hard work.

“Those are life skills that carry on past band and past high school,” Bennett said. “Those are the skills that make good human beings, and every single one of my students have displayed those skills this season.”

Buffalo High School’s two sousaphones pose together for a photo after their performance

Buffalo High School’s two sousaphones pose together for a photo after their performance on Tuesday. Photos were taken by family and community members before and after the show.

Makenna Lambert screams in excitement

Buffalo High School’s drum major Makenna Lambert screams in excitement the moment the band was released from attention on Tuesday. Lambert was one of two different drum majors for the band.

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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