As he steps away from his twirling band members, Lewis Cass senior Mackenzie Wisler plays a few high notes on the trumpet and brings the music of former band director Mike Clark to center stage.
Clark passed away Sept. 30 after a battle with cancer. Wisler, who is playing the former band director’s trumpet, is one of the 120 band members preparing for the state competition Saturday in Indianapolis. When they go to the competition, current band director Don Krug says the band members will do their best not only to defend their title as reigning state champions but also to preserve Clark’s memory.
At this year’s competition, Krug said, the band will be playing a show entitled “El Ano de Los Reyes,” which translates to “The Year of the Kings.” The band had to receive gold ratings in district and regional competitions and place in the top 10 at semistates to reach the finals.
View the rehearsal video here.
The band has the distinction of being the only high school band in the state to attend the competition for the 31st year in a row, Krug said. And though many of the band members are used to attending the competition, Krug said this year, they’re still as excited and determined as ever.
“They have a lot of hopes and dreams and desires to remain state champs,” Krug said.
Band members have been practicing the music since summer band camp, but put in extra practice — to the tune of 1 1/2 hours a day — last week during fall break.
“We used last week to help us with this week, getting more practice time in,” Krug said.
The show has a Spanish flamenco theme and features flamenco costumes and dancing.
But the season and many of the practices have been shadowed by the death of Clark, who Krug said many of the students looked to as a father figure.