When the final notes died out at the State Marching Band Festival on Oct. 19 in Casper, the Cody Bronc Band felt a sense of relief and pride in what it had done.
“When we were about to come out we said, ‘See you on the other side,’” sophomore trumpet player Landon Rau said. “My favorite part was right after we finished. There was such a sense of accomplishment. I felt we did the best we could.”
That feeling was shared by other members of the band as well.
“In all my years in high school I thought this was the best show,” junior piccolo player Liberty Lang said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it had a lot of stuff (going on).”
The Bronc Band earned an excellent rating for this year’s performance, the second highest rating.
“We were a little sad, but it’s still a really good rating and something to be proud of,” senior drum major Kate Beardall said.
The band has 69 performers this year. Forty-two of those are freshmen or sophomores, with 27 juniors and seniors.
“Those upperclassmen are great leaders and that is why we are so strong this year,” band director Wade French said. “Those leaders spent extra time with the younger students and made sure they all felt confident and ready for the challenges ahead. They are honestly a nice and disciplined group with a big sound.”
Work on the show began before school started. The group spent a week in band camp learning the steps for this year’s performance. Once school began, the band practiced in the evenings on the football field and worked on perfecting songs during class time.
“As long as you dressed warm it wasn’t too bad,” Lang said of the outdoor practices. “One practice I had on a onesie and three layers.”
Leading up to state, the band performed the show in August at band camp, at homecoming in September and at the Buffalo Marching Invite on Oct. 8.
“They improved and got stronger each performance, and that’s what this is all about,” French said. “It was some of the hardest music I’ve ever given to a marching band in Cody, and they did it justice every time.”
Twenty one bands participated in State March Festival at the Casper Events Center, with Cody performing fifth.
“I always like to go first so you don’t have to be thinking about it, but it was good to get a feel for how things worked,” freshman saxophone player Micah Idema said. “Coming into it I didn’t expect it to be as grand as it was. It was a great experience.”
Before heading out to perform, many in the group were feeling some nerves.
“I was extremely nervous,” Beardall said. “I kept having to tell them to bend their knees so they didn’t pass out.”
The Bronc Band’s show this year was called “Go West.”
“I loved the music and the western theme,” Beardall said. “It’s crazy how many hours of practice we put in for a 15-minute performance. It was definitely complicated, but we pulled it off well.”