The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

GRC Band: Marching as a family

The GRC Band performs its 2023 show, Ivy.
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in our September print newspaper. Since its publication, the Band finished 5th out of 25 bands in BOA Regionals Oct. 21 and will finish the competition season Saturday at the KMEA state competition at WKU.


The steady metronome rings in the background as the horns, woodwinds, and percussion instruments play together perfectly to form a story.

The color guard joins in to incorporate smooth and sharp movements finalizing the extravagant performance from one of the top bands in the state.

This is our own GRC Marching Band, which has had an impressive marching season.

“This has been my favorite marching band to work with since I started teaching,” says band director, AJ Cook. “They have worked extremely hard and they are ahead of where we have been in the past years.”

Senior Ian Fitzgerald can already see how many aspects of the team are enhanced.

“I think the mentality is different this year,” he says. “We’re all wanting to strive to be better, and we’re all trying to improve. This year we are already off to a much better start, even the new kids are seeing this and trying their hardest to improve.”

The band is challenging themselves even more than they have in the past, working on music that can make an impact on the judges. They put in about 12 hardworking hours a week, with some practices being three hours long in the draining heat.

“A big challenge is keeping good rehearsal etiquette,” says Senior Thalia Roddy. “You know you’re tired and you’re hurting, but you know you have to push through it to keep making progress.”

The band’s 2023 show, Ivy, is centered around a Batman character, Poison Ivy, who is very deceitful, controlling, and sneaky. Certain instruments are used throughout the show to bring out the characteristics of Ivy.

“Woodwinds are kind of slow and chill,” says junior Olivia Maslin. “They’re kind of moving and represent the calm parts of the performance. As a clarinet player, my instrument makes certain segments of the show really impactful.”

Trombonist Landon Harney breaks down more of the show from the bass section’s responsibilities.

“Our section is where we really uphold the bottom notes and really are a lot of the sound,” he says. “ During the intense acts we really magnify the scene. A main aspect of the story is when people go up for their solos which shows they’ve been taken over by the Ivy.”

The performance also consists of features from different instruments and solos performed by leaders of the band.

Roddy is performing one of the first solos of the performance, as a saxophone player. “My solo ties into the story of poison ivy in how the band is the ivy and we are slowly being turned to be more poisonous and controlled by the DC character, Poison Ivy,” she says. “My piece is very challenging due to it directly following a woodwind feature that I play in. It is hard playing the high notes with the short time to breathe and recover from the last section.”

The color guard’s impact on the performance brings a visual element to the show. Senior leader Lillian Ballard explains the group’s role in the perfomance.

“The color guard adds color and movement to the band so that the story can be told,” she says. “We time the movements of our bodies and flags in ways to make the audience feel and see certain emotions .”

The color guard practices around 12 hours every week, putting in quality practice time to hone all of their skills and routines.

“We perform very well with each other,” say junior Lucy Kinney. “We have grown to become more of a family through the amount of time that we spend together, practicing and hanging out.”

Throughout the struggles of keeping everything in tip top shape, the whole marching band is bonding and becoming more of a family.

“I spent three years doing Color Guard and then saw that in the drum major position I could take a more active role in helping the band,” says Drum Major Maddy Combs. “I’m just there to be their friend and also be their biggest encouragement.”

Drum Major Sarah Leslie also understands the importance of encouragement and truly becoming a team with the whole band.

“I want the band to be successful and help others reach their success whether it means winning or whatever they define as success,” she says. “I really like helping people achieve what they want to achieve at the end of the season.”

The whole marching band has devoted so much to the whole program. Director Cook has high hopes and expectations for this band.

“The goal for the marching band this year is to perform better than last year’s and the years before that,” he says. “We can’t always control the placement at the end of the season, but we can control our performance quality. And I think that this year the band is setting itself up for the best performance they’ve had in years.”


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Joby Mitmesser
Joby Mitmesser, Managing Editor
Hey! My name is Joby Mitmesser and I am THE BETTER Managing Editor for the Smoke Signals media team. My favorite activity is eating pounds of food and not sharing that food with others! I love playing sports with my friends, and I am a part of the Cardinal soccer team where I play center back. My favorite artist would have to be Taylor Swift; her music is honestly just superior. Playing Rook is one of the best ways to pass time throughout a boring day. If you ever need a Rook partner, email me… I am your guy. Shoutout Liam, my partner in crime. #ALL IN!

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