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Let’s go band: Marching into state semifinals

By Claire Bauer, RCHS intern writer; photos courtesy of Zoë Danilchick

Photo of Rock Canyon High School seniors Julia McDonald and junior Zoë Danilchick

Rock Canyon High School senior Julia McDonald and junior Zoë Danilchick pause for quick photo during one of the school’s marching band performances.

On October 30, Rock Canyon High School’s (RCHS) marching band arrived at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs ready to compete. After a summer packed full of band camps, practices ranging from six to eight hours at a time, weeks of after-school practice, and performances at numerous football games, they had worked hard to perfect their skills. From proper marching and instrument holding techniques, to improving their members’ musical techniques, creating uniformity among more than 60 students, memorizing the show’s music and visual movements and more, they had done it all.

This level of commitment and zeal paid off. The marching band came away with the highest score the school had ever achieved in a state semifinals competition – 72.1. The score was decided by a total of seven different judges working together to evaluate based on the three broad categories and their subsections: Music Performance, with subsections individual and ensemble; Visual Performance, with subsections of visual individual and visual ensemble; and General Effect, with no subcategories.

RCHS’s chosen performance theme this year was “The Greatest Show,” influenced by the 2017 musical The Greatest Showman. Their performance was inspired by the story of the original circus, with music from the film and a more in-depth look at the emotions of the circus and its performers. Three different soloists were featured, with David Deckerman (Class of ‘22) on the sousaphone, Reagen Kelley (Class of ‘23) playing the clarinet, and band captain and symphonic band vice president Zoë Danilchick (Class of ‘23) on the trumpet.

“It was incredible, to say the least,” said Danilchick. “The Air Force Academy stadium is massive, and performing with the band was nothing like I have ever experienced. Playing my solo in the stadium was nerve-wracking, but I had prepared the best I could have, and I played it really well. That probably was one of my proudest moments,” she said. “I have played trumpet for six years and have been in the marching band for two years. I will definitely stay in marching band my senior year. After high school, I would love to play in local bands and orchestras around my future college, even if I do not play in my college’s marching band itself. Trumpet is a huge part of who I am, so I will always play in some way.”

The only person possibly working harder than these driven band members was their fearless leader, the band teacher and director, Zachary Fruits.

“We are so lucky to have Fruits; he is such a light and truly cares about his students. He has been truly wonderful since I have known him, and everyone in the band loves him,” Danilchick confirmed. “One of our biggest challenges leading up to competing was cohesiveness with the band. The band is a team, and we all needed to work together, so teamwork, and a leader like Fruits, was essential.”



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