Marching Panthers prep for upcoming season

Band members practice their visual routine  (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

Band members practice their visual routine
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers took the first major steps towards learning this season’s half time show this past week when they took part in their annual band camp at the Smiley Campus.

The storied marching band held 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. practices every day over the past week, with the intent of learning their competitive field show step by step.

A standard day at camp with the Marching Panthers consists of various physical warm ups, including basic marching fundamentals and even a dance routine, containing many of the visual effects the band will employ on the field. There is also a separate music rehearsal, and the day culminates with practice on the field in the evening, putting the day’s music and visual teachings together.

The days are grueling, with the hot summer heat and long practice hours affecting every member of the band.

The Marching Panthers are working hard to try and duplicate the success of the 2015 group, which won the program’s first ever Bands of America Regional competition. Bands of America is the governing body for the highest competition circuit of high school band in the country. The Panthers will be making a return to the BOA Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana this November, following a one year absence.

Afterwards, the band will travel to South Florida to take place in the annual Orange Bowl festivities. The honor is just the latest in a string of prestigious national appearances for the program, which has also appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Fiesta Bowl Parade, and most recently the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.

The program’s recent success includes Finals appearances at BOA Regional and Super Regional Championships across the country, as well as being a 3 time BOA Grand National Championship Semi-Finalist, placing them among the elite 30 bands in the country.

This year’s camp will conclude on Wednesday night with a parent preview performance of the new show, titled “The Missing Piece”, at the Panther Athletic Complex.

“Our rehearsals have been running really well and we’ve gotten a lot done so far. There’s still a lot to go and we can’t wait to get the rest of the show on the field so we can focus on the upcoming schedule,” Senior trumpet section leader Erin Cornwall told the Weekly. “We’re ready to go full-throttle on this season.”