Bands from each Shawnee Mission high school took the field this week to share performances at the Shawnee Mission School District Marching Festival.
The event gives each band a chance to perform and view marching programs from across the district.
“While this is only an exhibition, with no scores or rankings, the students work hard for their own pride in a job well done,” Bill Thomas, Shawnee Mission West band director and district performing arts coordinator said.
The event helps band students strive for continued growth, he said. By performing, watching other bands, and evaluating performances, students are learning more about factors such as spacing, intervals, body carriage, choreography, musical phrasing, visual and music effects, individual performance abilities, and ensemble performance characteristics.
Following the event, band directors often spend time with their students reflecting on what they experienced as they watch each performance.
“The students talk about how impressive various effects or ideas were from each band,” Thomas said. “We also hear our students express how they need to enhance their own performance in various areas so they can be like the other bands.
This year, drum majors representing all five bands gathered to take a photo, which celebrated the supportive nature of the marching community, Thomas said.
“All of the directors were talking about how cool it is to see how competitive we are, but how supportive we are at the same time,” he added. “The students want to do well in front of their peers, but we also understand how hard other bands work and are 100 percent supportive and encouraging.