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The West Press

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A Look Inside the Lakota West Marching Band 2023

In their 27th marching season, the Lakota West Marching Firebirds once again made history with their competitive show, “UnXplained.”
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Lakota West has always been known for having spectacular athletics and extra-curricular activities for students. With all of their impressive wins and records held over the years, one program West offers has become a pinnacle of the school’s success: The marching band. Not only have they been on an impressive uprise for the last decade or so, but have also broken numerous records just in the last few years. Winning multiple BOA Regional Championships, being Super Regional Finalists, and Grand National Semi-Finalists, the Lakota West Marching Band has been and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for generations to come.

During their 2023 season, the West marching band put on their show “UnXplained,” which focused on the mysteries of The X-Files. Although no short, green creatures could be spotted during their show, the band and colorguard of 230 students filled the field with 16 large prop “X”s, which had the ability to separate in half, then regroup into a full shape that students could stand inside of. 

The process of putting on their program, however, was not an easy journey. With hundreds of hours poured into the design and creation of their show, students began work the day after the 2022 school year ended, during their 3-day mini-camp. During this time, and continuing through summer sectionals (this is when “sections,” such as the Saxophone or Trombone sections, meet up and have a rehearsal on their own time), students learned the music to “Pregame,” a long-standing football game tradition that has existed since the district split in two. They also would begin learning the competitive show music, which would be set on the field during band camp, a nearly 5-week long period of practices lasting 1-9 pm. 

After starting the school year, the West Marching Band looked forward to a new first for the district, the Lakota West Invitational. Held at the Main Campus Football Stadium on September 16th. nine different bands had the opportunity to compete. Of these groups, many notable names made an appearance, such as the Kings High School Marching Band, Kettering Fairmont Marching Band, and of course, the Lakota West Marching Band performing in exhibition.

After a successful week of practices, Lakota West ventured to one of their biggest competitions of the year: The Bands of America (BOA) Fortress Obetz Regional. Unlike most years, competition was more intense than ever predicted. With 27 bands fighting for a spot in finals, West swept the competition in the preliminary round and moved on to finals along with 12 other bands (one being in exhibition).

In finals, Lakota West was last to perform, wowing the audience (and judges!), scoring 2 and a half points over the 2nd place band, Goshen High School from Indiana. Now having won their third-ever Bands of America regional (an honor very few bands ever receive), the group had high hopes for the weeks of rehearsal and performances ahead.

Following their victory at Obetz, West competed head-to-head with their sister school, Lakota East. Although West fought hard, East won by just a 0.3-point gap, solidifying that both band programs have been and continue to be neck and neck with one another. With an additional two weeks of practices and students enjoying their Homecoming weekend, the band looked to the BOA Indianapolis Super Regional, held in Lucas Oil Stadium. After competing there last year at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, almost all the students looked to fight for a spot in finals, competing against 65 bands for just 14 spots. The fight to make school history would be incredibly challenging. 

Without backing down, the Lakota West Marching Band performed at 10 a.m. on Saturday, after departing from the school at 5:15 that morning. Many students felt it was one of their best performances yet; The staff, students, and parents could not have been happier with what was left on the field. Later in the day, students listened through a live stream as the announcer began reading the names of the 14 finalists, and it could not have come sooner. The first band announced into finals was Lakota West, officially having made school history! With bands from Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and even South Dakota, the significance of being in the top group of performances was a feat very hard to comprehend for many. 

Students and staff hurried to get into uniform. Due to luck being against West, they were selected as the first band to perform, with just 2 hours to get to the stadium, get unloaded, warm up, and be on the field ready to go. Back on the field, Lakota West put on an amazing show of UnXplained for an audience of nearly 9,000 people. Their finals performance was then followed by a full retreat on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium with some of the best programs in the nation, and being announced in 10th place over other significant bands such as Centerville, Lincoln, and Choctaw. 

The West Marching Band’s season continued with two more competitions, both being MSBA events at West Clermont and Mason, for Championships. At MSBA West Clermont, the group placed 2nd behind Kentucky band Campbell County and placed 3rd at MSBA Championships behind Mason (1st) and Campbell County (2nd). 

Andrew Carr and Colin Celek, the Directors of Bands at West, detailed the successes of this season and what made it such a great group to work with.

“We’re super thrilled with the season, we had a few historic firsts for the program… We hosted our first marching band competition… we won our third championship at the Obetz Regional, and playing in finals at the Indy Super Regional was really nice… As a band, we didn’t have any ‘bad shows’, and we’ve gotten good at performing, and not overhyping. Now we get to look forward to traveling to Hawaii, and doing something totally different. There’s always the fun and challenge of combining bands and doing something so unique, but it’s been a good experience joining together with our cross-town friends.”

To end the year, the band gathered one last time for the annual Band Awards. After playing through Pregame and some of the band’s favorite stand tunes, the band performed “UnXplained” one final time, echoing throughout the building for all to enjoy. As the night concluded, students put away their uniforms one last time and said goodbye to the Marching Firebird family. Many now had a chance to work toward the band’s trip to Hawaii (something that will be covered on The West Press!) and focus on Honor Band auditions, keeping many students busy through the end of the semester. Although the competitive season may have now ended, there was still much to look forward to, as the life of a band kid never leaves you a moment to breathe.

You can watch the Lakota West Marching Bands 2023 Show HERE.

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About the Writer
Thomas Price, Website Manager
Thomas Price is a second-year student in Journalism who has been heavily involved in The West Press over the last school year. He participates in many of Lakota’s extra-curricular and in-school programs, such as being a member of the Hope Squad, Junior Board, Lakota West Drumline, performer in the Marching Band, and a Percussionist in Symphonic Winds. As a creatively driven student, Thomas is also skilled in many technical areas, whether through the use of photography, video design, or media creation. Through The West Press, he focuses on writing local news and opinion articles, giving daily insight into the good and bad West has to offer to its students and staff.

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