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A Strong Win after Decades of Silence

Marching Blackcats Getting Back into Competitions
Claire Warden
The Blackcats marching off field at the end of their competition show.

This is the second time after three decades of silence that the Marching Blackcats have attended the Farmington Invitational. Last year our team placed last and was not super close to second place either. This year, that was not the case. Since the Blackcats have re-branded, the group has improved tremendously. With the amazing work of Mrs. Leo, the group has grown to the level at which they now stand a chance in competitions, after just a year of her being here.

This year at the Farmington Invitational, the marching band competed in class A. Other schools in the class included Dexter, Grandview, and Park Hills Central. During the competition, schools are allowed a full-run warm-up and receive tips and criticism from the judges. After the Blackcats warmed up at 11:20, some students watched the other bands perform. After observing them, many students had high hopes that they could really place this year.

The show theme this year is Blackcats in Bikini Bottom. To begin the show, they start with the SpongeBob theme song, “SpongeBob Funfair.” It serves as a great introduction to what will come for the rest of the show. The second song is “Goofy Goober Rock” from the 2004 movie “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” The third song for the performance is the classic, “Sweet Victory,” from season 2 episode 15. To close off the show, the Marching Blackcats play the lovely “Best Day Ever.” This year’s performance allows for lots of dynamics, creating a fun and exciting show.

The band began their performance at 4:00. As soon as the Blackcats began playing, the crowd and other schools erupted into cheers. It is not often that a band show is as fun as SpongeBob, and it excites people. Throughout the show, the band created many pictures throughout their drill. They formed boxes, smiley faces, letters, S-tracks, and more. Along with the band, the color guard also integrated throughout the group. They displayed many different tosses, a portion of dance, and even dance work with a hula hoop.

As the show came to an end, drum majors Ruben Pirtle (12) and Carter Hale (10) looked at their band with pride. After marching off the field, the drum majors congratulated the group, proud of everyone’s hard work. The band went back to their designated area, changed out of uniforms, and went back to watch the other bands. Throughout watching the other schools, our students got many ideas of what they would like to grow to, and ideas for upcoming years. The students bonded with each other, really welcoming new students and freshmen to the group.

Introduced last year, Bone Squad is a group of 5 brass instruments, each with a trombone, and 4 percussionists. The front-row students consist of Braylon Barnett (10), Carter Hale, Ava Kemp (12), Adrienne Cox (10), and Dalton King (12). The second row holds the percussionists, in the order of Oliver Shults (9), Ruben Pirtle, Simon Kelly (12), and Owen Henson (11). This year’s Bone Squad has many new elements. Mrs. Leo has added dancing and new movements with the trombones. While they were performing, the crowd went wild. Only one other school had a bone squad, but our Blackcats were much more complex and fun. After performing 3 songs, the students involved could not take the smiles off their faces, loving the sound of the crowds.

After both amazing performances, the night was coming to a close with awards. The announcements began with minor awards before moving to the placement awards. In class A, our drumline placed 2nd overall. Once all 4 classes were called, it was time for placement awards. All the students were on the edge, nervous and excited to see how they did. Starting with class A, they called fourth place, Dexter. The Marching Blackcats erupted into cheers, realizing they were not last place. When they called third, it was the Fredericktown Marching Blackcats. Ecstatic, some kids began to cry, some screaming in joy, some silent in shock, it finally settling in that their hard work was all worth it. Ruben Pirtle collected the award, and alongside him stood Carter Hale, Keeley Walker (11), and Kylee Baca (12).

Once the awards were over, Mrs. Leo shared the score with them. This year, the team scored 52.975, while last year was 43.325. The group is improving more and more with each event that they participate in. The Blackcats are extremely excited about their competitions to come. After what they proved at Farmington, they want, and need, to prove it again at districts in Sikeston on 10/14, and lastly at Ste. Genevieve on 10/28 to finish off their season strong. We are immensely proud of these Blackcats and hope to see another trophy in the office soon!

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About the Contributor
Keeley Walker
Keeley Walker, Editor
Keeley Walker is a junior who was moved up from a first-year publication student to head editor for both Scratchpad and Yearbook. Not only involved in publications, she is on color guard throughout the school year and plays baritone during the concert season. Some of her club participation is FBLA and DECA, filling the role of Vice President for both, and FBLA District 12 Secretary. She is also an active member of Beta and Upward Bound. She is currently working on her Associate of Applied Science in Business Management degree, with the plan of starting her own photography business.