Band composes historic season, earns awards year-round

Band students earn awards year-round


Cizina Sarussi

Band students pose with their instruments at the Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis.

Tess O'Brien, Staff Writer

The band had quite the record-breaking season, winning several competitions and gaining recognition across the country. 

The year kicked off with “Voodoo”, the 2022-23 marching band production. The performance featured the color guard as Voodoo masters, sticking large prop pins into instrumentalists and hypnotizing them. The performance blended the music of Dimitri Shostakovich, Annie Lennox and Cher to create an amazing spectacle. The members’ hard work gained them multiple first place awards at marching band invitational competitions. 

“We were surprised at how well we did,” sophomore member Nora Thornber said. “It really did push us to keep working because the feeling of winning was something most of us had never experienced before…and we wanted to replicate it.”

The band’s winning and placing streak lasted all the way to the State competition, where they placed second in their class. This qualified them for the prestigious finals, where they achieved 13th in the state against many competitive bands in Illinois. 


Although Voodoo came to a close after the State competition, the band wasn’t done winning just yet. On Feb. 25, the Symphonic Band won first place out of 28 bands at the Midwest Music Festival competition, which Lemont hosts every year. Band members and directors were ecstatic to achieve this victory for the first time in six years. 

The arrangement which won them the Midwest Fest Championship and an extremely large trophy was composed of three pieces, with the cornerstone being “Bookmarks from Japan” by Julie Giroux. 

The band also played their arrangement with the Leigh High School Wind Ensemble from San Jose, California on March 27. The concert acted as a practice concert for Leigh High School’s tour of Chicago, and as a preview for the Symphonic Band’s performance at the Music For All National Festival. 

“They found us by looking for quality bands in the Chicagoland area,” band director Matthew Doherty said. “Our reputation is what got us that opportunity.”

Apart from creating beautiful music with the Californians, the Symphonic Band was also given the opportunity to socialize with them and learn more about what life is like in another part of the country. 

“It was really cool to watch another band from so far away be not so different from us in terms of musicianship,” Thornber said. “It was really interesting hearing them talk about not just their band program, but the way stuff works over there.” 

After much preparation and the practice performance with Leigh High School, the Symphonic Band was ready to take their selection to the Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis. The band was able to perform amongst top bands from across America, meet band students from all over the country and attend informative workshops. 

“Being able to play at such a prestigious thing was really cool,” Thornber said. “It was really cool to see all of the talented bands there.” 

The band also took part in many fun activities to keep themselves occupied during downtime while in Indianapolis. Band members ate together at chain restaurant Bucca di Beppo and went “fowling”, an innovative combination of the beloved sports football and bowling. 

“Fowling was awesome, and we all had a really good time,” Thornber said. “We were all so excited to fowl.” 

The Symphonic Band performed “Bookmarks” once again at Illinois State University on April 28. 

“Because of our [National Festival] selection, we were also asked to work ahead of time with one of the judges, and we’ll be in the window right before the Illinois State performance…which is amazing,” Doherty said. 

From marching band success to concert season triumphs and opportunities, the band has had a monumental year that will be hard to top. In awe of their success, band members wait with bated breath for what next year will bring.