Archive for Wednesday, October 7, 2009

LHS Marching Lions step it up

With new uniforms, new field and new program, musicians perform like champions

Lawrence High junior trumpeter Jake Leet warms up with the marching band during practice Tuesday on the football field. Recently the band was awarded the prize of Grand Champion after winning the Blue Valley Invitational Tournament. The band has a theme this year of “Caravan: A Journey Through the Sand.”

Lawrence High junior trumpeter Jake Leet warms up with the marching band during practice Tuesday on the football field. Recently the band was awarded the prize of Grand Champion after winning the Blue Valley Invitational Tournament. The band has a theme this year of “Caravan: A Journey Through the Sand.”

October 7, 2009


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If given the choice of one or the other, would you rather have your high school have a successful football team or a successful marching band?

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LHS marching band pulls off victory

LHS pulled off a come-from-behind win on the field recently: But it was the school's marching band, not football team, which claimed victory. Enlarge video

Marching festival

Kansas University is hosting the 18th annual Heart of America Marching Festival on Oct. 17 at Memorial Stadium.

Twenty high school marching bands from Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas are slated to perform starting at 11:45 a.m. Lawrence High School will take the field at 12:45 p.m. Free State High School is scheduled to go on at 4:15 p.m.

The top 10 scoring bands move on to the finals, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and the awards ceremony will be at 9:45 p.m.

The Lawrence High Marching Lions had a roaring comeback at the Blue Valley Invitational Tournament a few Saturdays ago.

After the preliminary round, the band ranked second in its division and third overall. After their second, and final, performance, the LHS Lions were named Grand Champions. They also scored highest in the best music and best general effects categories, beating out other final bands from Des Moines, Iowa, and Blue Springs, Mo.

“There was all kinds of talk about having the heart of a lion and having lions’ pride here at LHS,” senior Travis Jacobsen said. “I think that really helped us band together and just come together for finals and that’s exactly what we did.”

This year, the band’s performance is “Caravan: A Journey Through the Sand.”

“It has an Egyptian theme to it,” junior Kelsey Schweer said. “It’s actually really addicting. I think it fits the band very well.”

They also have brand-new uniforms and use the new outdoor athletic stadium to practice.

“When we went out and played, it was like we were an entirely new band,” Jacobsen said.

However, band director Mike Jones said the big victory is a direct result of how hard the kids practice.

“The field in particular has been very, very nice to work on,” Jones said. “The new uniforms sure do help a lot. They look great. But it still comes down to work, hard work ethic.”

The Marching Lions walked onto the field that day at the competition and ended up hearing the sweet sounds of victory.

“It was just an amazing feeling to know that we were all out there together, working for the same goal and just putting all our pride out there and doing our best,” junior Ellen Bentley said.

Their next competition is Oct. 17 at the Kansas University Heart of America Marching Festival. If band enthusiasts thought the Lions looked good in September, this is month where it’s taken up a notch.

“We will not stop until we get to that highest level,” Jones said. “We won grand champions and that’s great, but we’re still not at the highest level that we’re going to be here in a few weeks.”

The band is on the same sheet of music.

“We know we’ve got stuff to improve on,” Bentley said. “We’re just going to try and keep getting better.”

Their last performance will be at the final home football game at LHS on Oct. 30.

Free State High School also competed at Blue Valley and placed third in the black division, for teams with fewer than 140 members.


cato_the_elder 8 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations to a great group of kids who are continuing the outstanding LHS Marching Band tradition.

hail2oldku 8 years, 7 months ago

Congrats Lions, excellent work.

Cato, I was going to comment on the return of the tradition. Since Baer left Free State, both schools have been down a little on the quality of their marching programs. From what I understand, this actually originates in the Jr. Highs though. The kids are dropping out of band before they even get to the HS level because of the instruction (berating) that they receive at the various feeder schools. Once the instrument is given up, it is awfully hard to get them to pick it back up.

mom_of_three 8 years, 7 months ago

I haven't heard any berating at our old junior high. When I was in school, kids dropped out because they didn't want to march or had other things they wanted to do instead of band. It could be true for the other feeder schools, but some kids just get tired of band, and there is so much more involved in high school.

gsxr600 8 years, 7 months ago

How does Baer have anything to do with the quality of Lawrence High marching band? Mike Jones and Pat McCarty and Cox make it work. I've witnessed them firsthand take not-so-great players and help them become exceptional musicians and marchers. I was around at LHS when she was still at FS and after she left the school. OUR program only got better from my sophomore to senior year and from what I can see here, the quality is still superb.

Oh and I'm happy to finally a "see related story" from the silly random poll days ago. I guess it only took two weeks to right up a story.

gsxr600 8 years, 7 months ago

And by right I mean write, of course.

hail2oldku 8 years, 7 months ago

gsx, if you aren't aware, Baer was at LHS before she was at Free State. There was a lot of collaboration, and friendly competition, between the two schools after Baer moved to FS and it drove the programs. When she left, imho, both programs took steps backwards. LHS obviously not quite as far and they appear to have made it all the way back (we'll see how they score this weekend). FS still has a way to go.

MO3 - the number of kids in the Jr. High band programs decreases with each year they are in school. I know of a dozen kids between West and SW that gave up band this year as ninth graders because they couldn't stand the teacher. At least half of those kids had been playing for 4-5 years.

chewyfally 8 years, 7 months ago

This is awesome, great job guys! Marching bands are AWESOME!

mom_of_three 8 years, 7 months ago

Hail - yes I know about kids and band. As I said, in my junior high, the band director was not a problem. BUT in my experience, students also quit band because of the high school time committment. Mine love their instruments and playing, but have considered quitting because of other committments. Its not all because of the band directors, but because of other interests.

Hop2It 8 years, 7 months ago

Same goes with Orchestra. A lot of the "commmittment" also has to do with the time that it takes up DURING school. In junnior high, it can be hard to schedule around, and can make it hard to be fit in other electives like photography, yearbook, newspaper, etc.

gl0ck0wn3r 8 years, 7 months ago

Band kids are so fashion forward. I hope Jake's last name is actually Leet - that would be t3h l33t.

StirrrThePot 8 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations Marching Lions!! This is fantastic news. Keep up the great work!

BigAl 8 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations to the Lions!! Lawrence is fortunate that we have two high school bands that we all can be proud of. Year after year, both LHS and FSHS have excellent programs with super kids participating. Keep up the good work.

Again, congratulations to LHS for their success at Blue Valley!

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