Marching Wildkats take 5th at state

Jasmine Hale and Jackie Stout

After being awake and going for almost 24 hours, the KHS Marching Wildkats returned to Kokomo with a fifth place trophy in their hands. The Wildkats competed at the Indiana State Fair Band Day on Friday, Aug. 6. The band and guard qualified for Friday night’s finals after placing fifth in the morning prelims.

“We are thrilled with our 5th place ranking this year.  This is an especially big success for us because over half of the band were new marchers.  We are excited to see how these new marchers continue to grow,” said band director Brandon Anderson.

This is the sixth year the band has placed in the top five in the state.

“This is our sixth year in a row placing top five at State Fair Band Day, and I am honored to be a part of that legacy,” said senior Katelyn Durham.

This year’s competition show was entitled “Malala.”

“Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head because she continued attending school after the Taliban forbade girls from going to school.  She survived.  She continues this fight today,” said guard director Deanne Wideman. “Although this is the premise of our show, like any art piece, our hope is that people walk away with feeling something – knowing when it is important to stand up for what you believe, recognizing that people are still fighting for rights that we already have, this person is passionate about education for girls – what am I am passionate about,  simply enjoying our performers, etc.  We had a judge that had to compose himself before making comments because this show made him think of his own mother and sisters.”

After a year off, getting back into the swing of things proved to be a little difficult. But, with hard work and perseverance, the band and guard was able to improve throughout the season.

“I love seeing the improvement throughout the season.  Our band is special because our season is short,” Anderson said. “We have seven tough weeks to get better before the state fair.  This means I get to see them go from pretty bad to outstanding in the span of one summer.”

For senior band and guard members, they had one final season to perform as a Marching Wildkat.

My favorite part of this season was our competition weekends. Even though they were super stressful and were very long and hot days, performing to a crowd with your friends is one of the best feelings in the world,” said senior guard member Mackenzie Taylor. “I wish everyone could experience being in color guard or marching band.”

The band are guard are always looking for new members. Both Anderson and Wideman are hopeful that students will considering giving it a shot.

“Don’t be afraid to take that first step to try something new.  Be prepared to work hard.  Be prepared to fail, it’s okay, this is all new to you.  You will get it. Most importantly don’t ever give up,” Wideman said. “The feeling of taking the field, performing, and competing is worth all of the hard work, and over the next four years, you will meet and make new friends that can last a lifetime!”