Cinnaminson High School’s marching band wins Cavalcade of Bands Association competition
#smallbutmighty has become something of a rallying cry for Cinnaminson High School’s marching band. Despite consisting of only 17 band members and one color guard performer (an average high school marching band is made up of almost twice as many members), the band won first place in the Cavalcades of Bands Association for the Independence Division earlier this month, making them state champions.
Following this victory, they traveled to Hershey Park Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 11 and faced off against other states in the circuit. Once again the “small but mighty” band claimed first place. The school’s marching band hasn’t had a similar victory at this competition since 2004.
Leading up to its winning performances, the band had to compensate for its size by making sure everyone was as prepared as possible. No one performing could just hide in the back the way one could with a larger group. Drum Major April Schultz and Percussion Captain Cody Broadway described their practices as “rigorous.”
“Everyone has to be on point all the time. There’s no room for lack of focus or someone not wanting to be there. Everyone who is in the band wants to be there and wants to win so you really have to be in the moment at all times,” said Broadway.
“With such a small band everyone has to pick up their feet and keep to their responsibilities,” said Schultz.
A number of students had to take on multiple roles throughout the show, making for a unique performance. With only one member currently in the color guard, a number of musicians had to trade their instruments for a flag during certain portions of the show.
“Two of the band members also had to become percussionists with us,” said Broadway. “They had to pick up anything that (the band director) threw at them.”
At the beginning of the season, the band’s hopes weren’t high given the obstacles they faced as a smaller group. Motivation and encouragement came gradually as they heard more and more positive feedback and realized they actually had a shot at the championship.
“I think what really started motivating us was the fact that we started winning. At the beginning of the season we didn’t have much expectation for the competitive season because we were so small,” said Schultz. “The more positive feedback we got from the judges, the more motivation we got to want to get better and win.”
“We really just wanted to have fun at the beginning of the year but then we were like ‘we’re really turning this into a championship winning show,’ so we started really trying to push further and further,” said Broadway.
The theme for their performance was “Shades.” Preparations began toward the end of the last school year when the band worked with their director Deb Knisely to put together the program for the new season. The final product was a medley of the songs “Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum, a piece by Director Knisely entitled “Universal Colors” and “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles.
“I’ve taught bands of up to 57 kids and it’s just a matter of how much each individual wants to be excellent and with this group every individual wanted to be excellent. When you have a larger band there’s more possibility of somebody just being along for the ride or the social aspect,” said Knisely.
Although their competitive season is over, the band will be presenting its championship winning performance at the football game Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and will continue performing at pep rallies and assemblies throughout the year.