The Herriman Marching Mustangs

A Closer look at a High School Marching Band


Annie Hyink

The HHS marching band in action.

Annie Hyink, Editor-in-Chief

Every high school has a marching band. Every student has heard of marching band, whether it be from watching High School Musical or from listening to their great grandparents. The thing that most teenagers don’t realize about marching band is that it is a highly competitive sport that requires both athleticism and musicality. As with any sport, the key to achievement is practice. Let’s take a look into how much Herriman’s marching band practices weekly going into the fall competition season!

An Insider’s Perspective:

August rolls around at the end of the summer, and most teenagers are still outgoing on vacations to Hawaii and laying by the pool all day. Most people are still sleeping in past noon and staying up past midnight. There are a few exceptions, however, because…

Marching band season starts the second week of August! While all of our peers are still sleeping, we drag ourselves out of bed and drive ourselves to the high school for band camp. In the span of five days, all 135 members of the marching band practice for 12 hours a day in the hot sun. You might be thinking, what could they possibly be doing for that long? 

To start with, the entire band must learn and memorize four movements of music. Countless hours are spent repeatedly going over parts so that it sounds flawless. The thing that makes marching band different from just a simple band is the fact that in a marching band show, the performance is almost entirely visual. We spend more time learning drill for each movement than we do on anything else. Each set of drill must be learned and then repeated over and over again so that each set flows evenly into the next. So much time is spent on the visual aspect of performance. We spend hours at band camp learning how to march with good technique while being able to play good music at the same time. Visuals are so important that the color guard alone spends an extra 40 hours learning choreography prior to band camp. 

Once band camp is over, we practice for 15 additional hours in the duration of the next week. This helps solidify everything we have learned for our show, and it allows us to continue learning more. If all of this wasn’t crazy enough, this is only the beginning of how much time we give to our show. For the next 3 months, the marching band practices 3 days a week for 4 hours each day. Rehearsal time is spent polishing music, marching, drill, and choreography until the show is as close to perfect as possible. 

But what makes marching band different from other team sports? All teams have to practice for hours in order to improve, so how is marching band unique? To answer that question, let’s take a walk in the shoes of some marchers.

There are countless reasons that people join marching band. Many people say that they love band because of the social aspect. The band encompasses people from all different walks of life, and we all embrace our differences and work together towards a common goal. When you join the marching band, you are stepping into a family that will love and accept you no matter what. “We literally become a family and it takes every single one of us to make our show what it is,” describes drum major, Andrew Williams.

 A characteristic of marching band that is different from any other team sport is the number of players that we require. In our world, there are no excuses for not showing up. Once you are a part of the team, you have to participate and give your all 100 percent of the time. “In marching band, you can’t just sub out a player. You have to have everyone there, otherwise it won’t work,” expresses percussionist, Weston Gray. If someone is missing, there is a hole in our drill, and the sets and music do not flow together. We rely on each other immensely; without one specific person, we fail to achieve what we can become. 

The Herriman Marching Band is known around the state of Utah for being different. We have a reputation for being respectful of our surroundings and helping wherever we can. Herriman always cheers for small and big bands alike, encouraging them as they perform their show. The impact we have on people as a band motivates us to fulfill our potential. Our attitude is everything. 

At Herriman, we maintain an attitude of improvement. “We are a band focused on succeeding, not necessarily in terms of awards or accolades, but succeeding in terms of improvement,” explains Field Commander Dax Delrio. “Being better than we were yesterday and becoming better than we were last year, and continuing to succeed in the future, that is what we pride ourselves on.” 

Herriman is known for having good music and putting on an amazing show every year. However, that doesn’t mean we always succeed. For the past 2 years, Herriman has not placed at a marching band competition. When competing in the highest division in the state, that is to be expected. Supporting an attitude of hard work is what allowed us to make history on September 28, 2019, at the Nebo Tournament of Bands. For 15 years, the same 3 marching bands had placed in the top 3 in the 6A division. Herriman broke this record when we took 2nd place in the competition. Once again, at the Bridgerland Band Invitational, Herriman placed 3rd overall. These triumphs were a result of hard work and talent.  Our competition is very close behind and ahead of us. All of the scores are within decimal points of each other. As a marching band, we are glad that we did not take the highest scores in everything. “That means we have a lot of room to grow and the competition gives us more motivation to get better,” Andrew Williams says. Marching band is something all of its members are passionate about. It is so much more than just a competition. We put our whole lives into our performance and what we know it can be.

Marching band is a serious competition, but it is also so much fun. Being with your friends constantly is great, and Herriman makes it even better. Rylee Mecham smiles as she describes how, “Herriman is known as the party band that gets the other bands to do the wave around the whole stadium.” We make marching band so much more than just a sport. Everyone looks forward to the start of the next season as soon as the last one comes to a close. “We are very excited to see where this season takes us, and how we can grow,” says flutist Amanda Jackson.

Marching band is made unique by its visual aspects and by the family that develops out of it. Our #1 goal as a marching band is to be better than we were yesterday. It’s not about placing in competition or winning awards, it’s about everyday improvement. Trophies are won through the effort given on the practice field, not at a competition. Marching band is about always growing as marchers and as people.