Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools
“It’s so great to hear the sounds of the marching band filling the stadium once more,” says Kevin Zamborsky, Director of Bands for Stillwater Public Schools.
Following a year filled with many disruptions caused by the pandemic, SHS Band has returned to a greater sense of normalcy. Summer band rehearsal was back in place for two weeks this summer with the band members and their directors spending six and a half hours a day working to hone their abilities and polish their music.
Things aren’t quite back to normal yet; the band continues to take precautions like distancing, spending a little more time outside than usual, and of course wearing masks when possible.
At around 145 members, the band is a little smaller than usual this year. Participation is down due to members that decided not to return following a disrupted school year and band experience, but Zamborsky is pleased with the sizes of some of the younger band classes and excited for the future of the program.
“Mr. Z,” as he’s often called by his students, is joined by his fellow directors, Megan Perkins, and Tricia Bailey-Bovenschen in welcoming back Assistant Director K.G. Robinson, who returns after two years spent directing in Perkins.
The theme of this year’s marching show is Cathedrals, featuring music from The Doxology, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, a percussion ensemble piece entitled “Stained Glass” by David Gillingham, a piano piece named “The Sunken Cathedral” by Claude Debussy, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, and “Gloria” by John Rutter. The show’s music is arranged by Zamborsky with percussion arrangements by Remi Thornton. The show will be enhanced this year by the inclusion of seven large props at the back of the field and ten screens at the front of the field to bring the feeling of being inside a cathedral to the audience. The band performed a selection of music from the marching show along with pregame and pep tunes for parents toward the end of the summer band practices.
“Among the many things that our students missed out on last year was the chance to perform for a crowd, both during marching and concert seasons,” Zamborsky says. While some precautions may remain in place, he’s excited to let more of the community see the band’s capabilities. “This is an amazing group of kids boh musically and in their marching ability.” The band will perform at all four home football games and five marching contests throughout the fall.
One of the things about which Zamborsky is most excited won’t happen until concert season though – a planned April trip to New York City. The band is scheduled to perform over the Easter weekend at Carnegie Hall. “I can’t wait for these kids to have that experience. The history and acoustics of that concert hall will make for an unforgettable experience.”
To help raise funds for that trip the band is participating in several fundraisers – numerous restaurant fundraising nights with local businesses, a March-a-thon from September 1-13, concession sales at OSU athletic events, and a few additional fundraisers.
The Stillwater Marching Band takes the field for pregame and halftime performances when Pioneer Football faces Mustang at the 7pm, September 10 football game at Pioneer Stadium.