Marching to the Beat of Their own Drum: The State High Marching Band


Senior, Kristen Lenze, assistant drum major, conducts the State High Marching Band. The Marching Band practices Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:45 P.M. Layla Thornton, a freshman, says, “The drum majors work so hard to make sure that the band stays in tempo and that we accomplish everything we need to in practice. They dedicate so much of their time to us, our success, and they put the band above themselves.” Photo by: Adrita Talukder

As State High reaches the beginning of October, most clubs are just starting to meet and get organized. Thespians just had their auditions, TSA events are getting sorted through, and most clubs are only on their 3rd or 4th meetings. However, there’s one activity that has been going strong since August: Marching Band.

Known as one of largest co-curriculum activities at State High, Marching Band requires much more than just being able to play music. It demands hard work, collaboration, communication, and above all, dedication. The Marching Band has a big responsibility: their upbeat music encourages the team and the students alike.

To learn more about the Marching Band, interviews were conducted with three people: Layla Thornton, Jenna Zhang, and Ms. Steinbacher. Though they provide 3 very different perspectives, there is a common theme throughout: family.


Layla Thornton – Freshman

Q.How does a normal practice go?

A. A normal practice consists of stretches, marching basics, drill work, music, rehearsal, and then the huddle.

Q. As a freshman, do you think you have a different Marching Band experience compared to the upperclassmen?

A. No, I think that I can play a larger role if I want to. They allow us to take leadership over ourselves and it is really nice.

Q. Do you have any final thoughts/things to say about the Marching Band? Have you enjoyed it so far? What are you looking forward to?

A. I’m looking forward to being a rank leader and just the memories that I’m going to make.


Ms. Steinbacher – Former Assistant Director

Q. What was your favorite part about Marching Band as a whole?

A. Getting to continue to work with and know the students in a different capacity.

Q. What are some of your favorite memories from Marching Band?

A. The Halloween Parade, lots of dancing, and students getting to experience even more of my silliness.

Q. Looking back, would you say there was anything bad about Marching Band? What were the worst parts?

A. I wasn’t always a fan of the extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Oh, and the lights not always working at either parking lot. The lack of designated field for practicing wasn’t always the most effective situation, either.

Q. What was the best part about being an assistant director?

A. The students! Always, the students!


Jenna Zhang – Rank Leader

Q. What’s the most rewarding part of being a rank leader?

A. The most rewarding part of being a rank leader is…everything! It’s cool to see how close I have gotten to everyone in the time span of 2 months. It feels like I have a mini family. You know that if you go to Marching Band in the evening, there will be a group of friends waiting for you. And if school gets very busy, Marching Band will be your own time of socializing with people.

Q. Is this your first year being a rank leader? What’s it like?

A. This is my first time! Usually, only seniors get to be rank leaders. If there aren’t enough seniors to fill spots, then juniors may be picked. In my case, there was enough last year so a junior rank leader wasn’t needed. It is challenging but fun! I think it is worth all the extra work. There are meetings you have to attend, and you have to make sure your rank is doing well. It is your job to hold parties, guide the rank in drills, hold sectionals when necessary, and make sure everyone is happy! However, when everything is working out, it makes you feel accomplished. If you aren’t fully committed, I would not recommend being a rank leader – it takes a lot of time.

Q. What are you going to miss about Marching Band, now that it’s your last year?

A. I am going to miss a lot. I made a ton of friends in the last 4 years and it is nice to know people above and below my grade. Really, there’s so much I don’t know where to start. It has been a really fun experience. Just thinking back through all of my memories makes me a little emotional. There have been bad times and there have been fun times, but I am so glad I stayed in Marching Band. I am going to miss all the people, all the games we’ve had, and all the memories I’ve made.

Q. What are some of your favorite memories/parts about Marching Band?

– When the football team wins very narrowly. There were a couple of very tense games!

– Home D! I had fun hanging out there after games.

– Meeting everyone on the first day of practice. It’s exciting seeing who’s going to be with you the rest of the season.

– Bus rides. Especially when I had friends around me.

– Eating at food courts! I don’t know if we’re doing that this year, but it’s fun!

– Writing emails out to my ranks. They make me feel like an adult.