A New Start For the Marching Band

The marching band begins their season with a new director and a killer show


Paul Ruebling

The marching band plays at halftime on Aug 26.

by Piper Ruebling, Online Editor

With the new year comes a new start for the marching band. At the end of last year, Sean Bippen, the band director, announced that he would be moving to Jefferson to help recruit more kids for the band. He was replaced with Ryan Blankenship, who is directing the band by himself for the first time. Blankenship has been working with several other directors over the past years to prepare. 

“I have assistant directed at the high school level for five years, I have not been the head director so this is my first experience with that, but I have assistant directed in Hazelwood, and prior to that I assisted with Mr. Meyer at St Charles West,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship has already settled into the swing of things, and is enjoying his position as the new director of the band. 

“I am loving it, the kids are fantastic. We have a good group of hard working kids and we tend to make the most out of our potential, and our work ethic is really high. So I think we’ve got a lot of good things in store for us this year, specifically beating West,” Blankenship said.

The band kids are slowly getting more comfortable with the changes as well. Senior Hadley Ruebling, a percussionist, is in his final season of marching band and settling in well with Blankenship in charge.

The marching band preforms their show on the football field. (Paul Ruebling)

“Well at first I was a little worried, because obviously Mr. Bippen was the only band director I’ve ever known, but I really enjoy what Mr. Blankenship is doing to the band, and I think he’s going in a great direction with the band program,” Ruebling said, “and I think he’s doing a really good job, and I can’t wait to see the next couple of years as he gets better at his job and more accustomed to how the band works.” 

Blankenship has brought a lot of good things to the table, as well as forming an amazing show for the marching band to perform this season. It’s called Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons is the theme. The reason I chose it is because it’s vague enough to where it can kinda be interpreted in a certain way from the crowds perspective, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Biblical in a sense, it’s just kinda playing on opposites,” Blankenship said, “So blues and reds, and a lot of our props are dealing with cool colors versus warm colors and happy feelings versus angry feelings and the music kinda brings it out. So it’s more theatrical and less of a show band, more of the Band of America kind of route to go.”

The band has also gotten more practice over the summer. The kids attended band camp for a week during the hot month of July, but they also had a few other things to attend to help their show improve. Sophomore Emily Johannes, a member of the color guard, is excited for the show to be presented to the school.

We have more practice now, and I feel like that’s good. We started practicing earlier this year, so a lot of us were more prepared, we weren’t just thrown into the deep end,” Johannes said, “especially with the color guard, it’s hard to start when you’re a beginner, and we only had one new person join [the color guard], but still it’s hard to start from the bottom so because of the extra time and the extra practice, we’ve been able to make our show better this year and we’ve been able to get our movements down more and we’ve been able to learn our work better.”

As well as the increase of practices, the band also received an increase of members. 

“We have a big drum line now, we went from three people to six people, so It’s nice to have the numbers with the drum line. The movement and choreography is relatively the same, but you know, having six people, you can do a little bit more with some things,” Ruebling said.

The marching band plays music before the football game begins. (Hannah Noack-Ruebling)

Senior Jackie Cortez-Lopez has been in the marching band since her freshman year, and enjoys the show this year as well as the band’s family aspects. 

“We definitely have a wider variety of instruments, and we have a different bond in the band. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s different from the past years,” Cortez-Lopez said.

Overall, the band has a big season ahead of them, with competitions, new music, solos, a grand show, and a lot of new experiences. 

“It’s [the season] been really good, obviously there’s been some hiccups with changes and I might not do things the exact same way as what has been done since 2002, so obviously there’s a little bit of growing pains, but ultimately in the long run, I think it’s already turning out positive for everyone,” Blankenship said.