School Band Snags Superior

Nora Malone


Two weeks ago on October 23, Alexandria City High School’s Marching Titans took part in the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) Marching Band Assessment. Their performance followed the theme ‘Finding Utopia’ with the songs “Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West, “Odd Eye” by Dreamcatcher, “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson, and “Fly to Paradise” by Eric Witacre.

They received a superior by four out of the five judges, which gave them an overall superior rating.

“Last time we got a superior, …  a lot of our members were at their peak,  so I think it was super impressive that the majority of the band this year was new and we managed to pull off what we did.” said senior Amanda Araujo, Trumpet Captain.

This achievement is no small feat; the ACHS Marching Titans have only received a superior rating three times in all its years, two of which have been at the most recent assessments. 

Timothy Grant, the Band Director said “This [their rating] was a big deal for us and we want to continue building on that and continue this kind of streak that we are starting up.”

The past two years have been turbulent for everyone, and the band did not escape that. 

Senior Kaifi Abdullah, Saxophone Captain said, “It took a lot of stepping up from our leaders and other veterans since about half our band was new to this. We had to make sure that they knew what they were doing and quickly got into the flow of a group.”

Usually only about 25% of the band is new when each freshman class comes in, but this year the sophomores had also never marched before, which meant the balance between new and experienced marchers was very different from past years.

“I was worried about the fact that we were going to have not one, but essentially two, new classes coming in that knew next to nothing about marching band, especially since programs like marching band rely on information and knowledge being passed down along the years. ” said senior Ella Bruinooge, Drum Major, “thinking about that now sounds ridiculous considering how much closer the band is now.”

The assessment overall went well, however during the middle of the performance one of the props malfunctioned.

“…one of our props rolled away with the wind because it didn’t have brakes like the other ones did. Another one flew away because there was an issue with its brakes…When I was looking at our drum major, I could see her smiling and her eyes tracking the prop.” said Abdullah.

“It was definitely a scary moment… the students did a great job of probably just seeing that mid-show and just continuing on.” said Mr. Grant.

But despite these few setbacks, along with the stress of re-entering the band during the pandemic, they managed to pull through and continue their streak of superior ratings

Senior Stuart Conrad, Low Brass Captain, said, “Even with limited time and far less experience than we’d normally have, we somehow pulled off a superior performance for the second time in a row and for only the third time in ACHS history!”

Nora is a senior and has been on Theogony since sophomore year and an editor since junior year. She enjoys writing just about anything but mainly focuses on news. In her free time Nora enjoys baking and rollerblading