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The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

Marching band wins 6A Grand Champions

Eagles compete in Plano East Invitational
At+the+Battle+of+the+Birds+football+game%2C+senior+drum+major+Arjun+Chati+conducts+the+Mighty+Prosper+Eagle+Band+during+their+performance+of+the+PHS+fight+song.+On+Sept.+30%2C+the+band+competed+at+the+Plano+East+Marching+Invitational+and+won+6A+Grand+Champions%2C+the+highest+award+a+band+could+win+at+the+competition.+It+was+definitely+a+relief%2C+senior+Quinn+Jones+said.+We+had+never+been+to+this+competition+before%2C+but+we+were+all+fairly+confident+that+we+would+be+able+to+win+it.+But%2C+when+we+actually+heard+him+say+that+we+won%2C+it+was+like+a+huge+weight+had+been+lifted+off+my+shoulders+because+that+meant+that+the+two+and+a+half+months+leading+up+to+that+was+all+worth+it.
Riley McConnell
At the “Battle of the Birds” football game, senior drum major Arjun Chati conducts the Mighty Prosper Eagle Band during their performance of the PHS fight song. On Sept. 30, the band competed at the Plano East Marching Invitational and won 6A Grand Champions, the highest award a band could win at the competition. “It was definitely a relief,” senior Quinn Jones said. “We had never been to this competition before, but we were all fairly confident that we would be able to win it. But, when we actually heard him say that we won, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders because that meant that the two and a half months leading up to that was all worth it.”

To further develop their musical abilities, the Prosper Mighty Eagle Marching Band competed and won 6A Grand Champions at the 41st Plano East Marching Invitational at Tom Kimbrough Stadium in Plano on Saturday, Sept. 30. The marching band will next compete at the Bands of America Prosper Regional at Children’s Health Stadium Oct. 14.

The band began rehearsing their cowboy-themed “Deep in the Heart of Texas” show before the school year started. As competitions came closer, students attended practices after school four or five times each week.

“We make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities, their job and their overall role in the show,” head band director Aaron Renzenbrink said. “We practice performing so that when we get into these stressful competitions, we don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to our nerves. We’ve already practiced anything that can happen in competition.”

On the day of the competition, band students had to show up at school at 9:30 a.m.

“I had to help my fellow section members clean their instruments, fix belt buckles and other things,” freshman tubist and sousaphonist Emma Correll said. “I still had to get myself ready for the long day ahead. The chaos was overwhelming but also really exciting.”

Before the actual performance, the band played some pre-show music.

We practice performing so that when we get into these stressful competitions, we don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to our nerves. We’ve already practiced anything that can happen in competition.

— head band director Aaron Renzenbrink

“We had the group that we called ‘rodeo clowns,’ who went out first before the rest of the band and acted all silly and got the crowd hyped,” senior baritonist Quinn Jones said. “Then, the rest of us were in charge of getting the props and taking the giant fences out to their places on the field. We pretty much just had to walk out and put the prop in the right place. We had to embrace the character a little bit and act like we were cowboys.”

After this, the band would actually perform their show for the judges.

“When we get on the field and start playing, the main thing I’m looking at is the drum majors’ hands and conducting,” Jones said. “That’s just to know the tempo, so you know when your feet should be hitting the ground or when you should be playing certain notes. That really helps you find your place in the show if you get lost.”

Playing with enthusiasm, seniors Alistair Hickman and Jake Kinchen beat on their drums. The band performed their ‘Deep In The Heart of Texas’ performance on Saturday Sept. 30, placing first in the grand championships. The accomplishment was last achieved by the Eagles in 2018. (Riley McConnell)

Students memorized all of their music and choreography in preparation for competition.

“The strategy is essentially doing it over and over and over again until you can’t get it wrong,” Jones said. “That’s getting really good at the music and then slowly practicing short little excerpts and eventually even looking away from your music. For choreography, it’s a little more complicated because two people could be right next to each other and be doing completely different things. For that one, it’s the same sort of strategies, just doing repetitions over and over and over again.”

Judges of the competition were looking for synchronized choreography, correct and consistent timing, proper marching techniques, quality of music and overall creativity of the show.

“I have a lot of trouble just remembering the easy stuff,” Jones said. “Anyone who’s been in marching band for four years can hit a really big drill or play some really fast notes. But, what’s really hard is going eight and a half minutes with really good posture or hitting with the toe first instead of the heel or tiny little things that can end up making or breaking the performance.” Renzenbrink said he thinks that the hardest part of each competition is having the energy to get through the day.

“A lot of times our competitions are on Saturdays, and we’ll have football games the night before,” Renzenbrink said. “So, a lot of it is just the endurance of the day and just being able to keep your focus, and, you know, keep your body in a state that you can perform at the highest level.”

The fact that they’re pushing us to do really well, and the entire ensemble is rising up to meet the challenge, just really shows me this is this is a whole other thing. This band is unlike any other I’ve worked with before.”

— senior Quinn Jones

The PHS band learned it claimed the 6A Grand Champion position, the highest award a band could win at the competition, via an announcement at the awards ceremony after the competition.

“It was definitely a relief,” Jones said. “We were all fairly confident that we would be able to win it. But, when we actually heard him say that we won, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders because that meant that the two and a half months leading up to that was all worth it.”

This is the first time the Prosper marching band has competed at this invitational.

“I think we were being pushed way harder this year than we ever have been,” Jones said. “This is the hardest music I’ve ever had to play and this is the hardest drill they’ve ever asked us to perform. The choreography is some of the most advanced stuff I’ve ever done. The fact that they’re pushing us to do really well, and the entire ensemble is rising up to meet the challenge, just really shows me this is this is a whole other thing. This band is unlike any other I’ve worked with before.”

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About the Contributors
Jake Radcliffe
Jake Radcliffe, Assistant Online Editor
Jake Radcliffe is a junior, and this is his third year as a staff member of Eagle Nation Online. This year, he will be serving as an Assistant Editor. He is a member of the A Cappella and Chamber choirs, the vice president of Mu Alpha Theta and the Asian Student Association and the historian of La Société Honoraire de Français. Outside of school, Radcliffe enjoys singing, reading, hanging out with friends, playing video games and being outdoors.
Riley McConnell
Riley McConnell, Chief Operating Officer
Riley McConnell is a senior at Prosper High School and is the Chief Operating Officer for Eagle Nation Online. This is her third year on staff and is involved in the Football Operations Department, an organization she is a founding member of. She is also the head photographer for the school's baseball team, alongside pursuing her personal photography career.
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