Ah, the ambiance of a Friday night football game: exhilarating, loud, and complemented perfectly by the shouts of spirited cheerleaders. Yet, in the case of Fort Lauderdale High School, one organization stands apart at these weekly sporting events because of the distinctive sound it brings─ the marching band.
Recognized as “Thee Sound,” this 109-member ensemble isn’t any average collection of performers. Whether observed through their enthusiastic dance routines or precise drumline cadences, members of the FLHS band are dedicated to putting on a memorable show through teamwork.
“Everyone works together and helps each other out because we are one band, one sound,” stated Lucia Rodriguez (10), a clarinetist in the band.
But such performers don’t confine themselves to a single football game to demonstrate their skills. For members of “Thee Sound,” their most recent halftime show solely served as a precursor to their 2021 Marching Performance Assessment (MPA). An annual event held at Coral Springs High, marching bands throughout South Florida prepare tirelessly for this event in the hopes of earning a “Superior” rating.
For the FLHS band, this goal was accomplished.
Earning a “Superior” rating across all performance categories (Visual Performance, General Effect, Music, Auxiliary, and Percussion), members of the FLHS band were proud to see their efforts culminate in success on Saturday, October 23, 2021.
“I felt that the quality of the band’s performance was very good,” revealed Owen Ricks (12), the band captain. “I can confidently say we put on a great show.”
Mr. Marvin Louis-Jean, one of the band’s newest directors, agreed with this sentiment– expressing that the significance of this “Superior” rating was emphasized through band members’ overcoming of obstacles this past year.
“The kids did an amazing job, especially coming out of a […] year with less contact [and] hours on their instruments,” he said.
It is often said that practice makes perfect. By this token, tedious practice makes a given end result slightly more perfect. Members of the band spent their time practicing at school in preparation for MPA, with a number of these sessions taking place on weekends─ from 9 AM to 7 PM.
“The practices leading up to MPA really tested my dedication to say the least,” expressed Jahniya Sparks (11), a majorette co-captain in the band. “Having to make the decision between staying in bed or waking up at 9am to be there for my team was very difficult.”
Yet, students in the band willingly chose to attend practices, in an effort to attain the best MPA rating possible.
“The practices […] took up quite a bit of time, time that could have been spent on other aspects of my life such as work, school, college apps, and things of the like,” voiced Chad Jordan (12), the band’s Drum Major. “However, knowing that I wanted to put on the best show I could, made the practices [seem] necessary.”
Despite participating in an overwhelming number of field practices, some members of the band still had a few anxieties in the moments leading up to the big show─ especially the underclassmen participating in their first MPA.
“I was very anxious about messing things up for everyone by playing a wrong note or something,” articulated Rodriguez.
Luckily, FLHS band members’ worries were quickly alleviated after MPA, resulting in their acquisition of an invitation to perform at the 2021 Florida Blue Battle of the Bands held in Orlando.
“It’s a performance that the school has been eager to be invited to for quite some time now, and this year, we were finally invited!” Jordan exclaimed.
But while the athleticism of band members is often viewed as debatable, one thing remains undeniable: the passion which its performers share. Fueled by copious amounts of Gatorade, FLHS band members spent the bulk of this fall on campus to attend lengthy practices─ showcasing the drive they possess to perfect their craft.
“What makes Thee Sound superior is our drive and our passion that we have for this band program,” established Ricks. “We truly would be nothing if we didn’t have those two qualities.”
In short, members of the FLHS band are committed to attaining excellence, or perhaps superiority, in everything they do.
“Being close enough to celebrate each other while also holding each other accountable, truly does make this band superior,” declared Sparks.
Here’s to another “Superior” rating!