All aboard: Marching band plays this year’s show, The Traveler


Breanna Wade, Kieth Kurtz, and Rebecca Yates march in the FCPS marching festival. Photo courtesy of John Morin, Brunswick High School

by Hugh Norko and Noah Ismael

Marching band: A dedicated, award-winning band of students

Name a group of students at Linganore High School that starts school in late July, goes in to school at 8:00 in the morning and leaves at 6:00 in the evening in early August.

Name a group that regularly practices every Tuesday and Thursday for three hours in addition to meeting every day during school for one and a half hours.

Name a group (other than football players) that has been at every home varsity football game to perform.

Name a 120-member group of students- currently the largest of its kind in Frederick County, Maryland- that has given up 14 hours of free time on a Saturday to work, march drill, and blow through metal.

2013 Lancer Marching Band is a group.

The band has been learning and practicing their 2013 show, The Traveler, since the end of the last school year.

The Traveler is about a young person who embarks on a journey, described junior clarinet player Becca Matthews. The person travels from place to place until she reaches her final destination. “The things she sees and experiences,” said Matthews, “are more important than the destination itself.”

This year’s show features three movements.

“In the first movement, we are at the train station. We are getting ready to board the train, and we’re starting the journey– everybody’s excited,” said junior mellophone player Alison DeBlois. “In the second movement, we are looking at the landscape of the area, looking at everything and relaxing on the train… and in the third movement, we are arriving in the cities and arriving at our destination.”

Mr. Lloyd, the band’s director, chose the show for two reasons in addition to the difficulty of the music. “I’ve always loved rail travel,” he said. “The use of the imagery of steam trains and the 1930’s/40’s time period attracted me.”

The second reason is because of the show’s connection to a theme Mr. Lloyd always teaches his students- the journey through life. “The theme of The Traveler is a metaphor for the fact that part of life is taking a risk, and starting out on a journey,” he said. “Although you are not 100 percent sure where it is going to lead you, you are willing to try new things and take risks.”

The second and third movements feature a mellophone solo by Danielle Franc. She said that playing in front of hundreds of people is not difficult. “I’m kind of used to it … I got experience soloing from piano and french horn, so now I don’t really think about [the pressure of playing.]”



As of October 19th, the band performed in five competitions. It has performed at Liberty, South Western (PA), North Hagerstown, and Walkersville high schools, and at chapter championships at South Hagerstown.

The band mainly competes in a circuit called Tournament of Bands. The bands that compete in the circuit are grouped according to size and only compete within their group. Linganore is a group four band, which means it has over 75 members.

Judges score the band and record comments. Some judges critique on the field beside the players while others sit in the stadium press box with a bird’s eye view.

“They look for posture, music playing, dynamics, knowing the notes, accents, accidentals, horn carriage, and horn angles,” said senior flute player Rachael Cleveland.

The bands receive placement and scores at the end of the competition at the awards ceremony. Sometimes there are specialty awards for the best drum major, percussion, music, auxiliary, and visual categories.

This year, the Liberty High competition was rained in so the band played stand-still. Linganore won the best color guard, drum line, and drum major awards for the group, as well as first place overall. The band was not scored because the show was indoors.

“I think we did really good being prepared to march on the field and not being prepared to just go in and stand still,” said sophomore trumpet player Natalie Solomon.

At the South Western competition, the band received second place with a score of 77.75. Linganore also won the high auxiliary (colorguard and front ensemble) award.

At the North Hagerstown competition, the band earned 1st place with a score of 82.4. The band also won the best music, auxiliary, and visual awards.

The Walkersville competition was rained in, but Linganore still competed and earned first place with the high drum major, auxiliary, and percussion awards.

“The Walkersville competition was complicated because it was the same day we had Homecoming. We had to get to band, and then we had to go perform. We did very well, but we didn’t get a score which made us pretty sad,” said drum major Elizabeth Hushour.

At the Tournament Of Bands Chapter 5 Championships at South Hagerstown High School, the band took away first place with 87.00 and the best music award. This is the band’s fourth consecutive year as chapter champions.

In addition to competitions, the band has performed in two parades, the Libertytown Firemen Carnival parade and the Linganore Homecoming parade. They have also performed their show at the Frederick County Public Schools Marching Festival in Brunswick.

One of the biggest changes that the band has made this year that has positively impacted their score was the introduction of visual effects earlier in the season. “In the past, we have added things later on in the season, and that hasn’t worked because the visual moves are not built into the muscle memory of the students,” said Mr. Lloyd.

These visual effects, like some of the train moves, horn raises, and toe raises help the band with visual scores.

Overall, it’s been a good year for the Lancer Band.

“I think this is one of the most hardworking bands we’ve ever had,” said Lloyd.


Color Guard: A hardworking, creative group of performers.

While the band alone produces a challenging show, the performance of Linganore’s outdoor color guard accompanying the marching band makes the shows stand out even more.

Colorguard incorporates dance and color using large flags, sabres, and rifles. The appearance, combination, and handling of these objects give the color guard the opportunity to express themselves creatively. The performers work in close cooperation with marching band to synchronize their dance with music played.

“It gives music that visual impact. It loses something if there isn’t a big flag hit on a swell on music,” said Julie Smith, color guard captain.

Performing is not an easy task. Julie describes colorguard as the “sport of the arts,” emphasizing how physical the performances are. Colorguard has to be able to spin, lift, and throw heavy flags for long distances, requiring days of hard training.

To look good doing this, colorguard has to practice the aesthetic appearance of their performance. Not only is every individual expected to look good while performing, but each must look strong working together as a team. At competitions, the colorguard is judged by how good their dance is, how good they are with their equipment, and how well the entire team can work together.

Colorguard helps to contribute to the overall visual score of the band. If specialty awards are given to bands in competitions, there may be one for outstanding colorguard. The guard has won the best colorguard and auxiliary awards this year in competition.

“We sort of have a sense of unity when we’re in colorguard,” said Julie. “We feel good working together as one.”


Drum majors: The model student leaders of the band

The students who are part of the band but don’t play instruments or spin flags are the three drum majors, conducting along the sideline. The band received a new drum major this year, sophomore Noah Ismael. He climbed up on his sideline podium to conduct alongside senior drum majors Matt Raabe and Elizabeth Hushour.

The drum majors are primarily in charge of conducting the band. They are responsible for keeping the band together. They need to make sure the band is playing and marching in time.

In addition to the on-field duties, the drum majors have several off-field duties– mainly being good role models for the rest of the band. The drum majors have to be mature student leaders at all times because the rest of the band looks up to them. They have to set their personal interests aside for the good of the group.

“You always have to watch what you’re doing, because if you are doing something wrong then it looks like other people in the band can do something wrong as well, and that’s not okay,” said drum major Elizabeth Hushour.

The three went through an audition process to earn the title. The students initially received a copy of the show’s score and music. They had about two weeks to learn the music before the audition. At the audition, they demonstrated their marching skills and their ability to call commands, and they conducted the first movement of the show. In addition, the three wrote an essay describing what they could bring to the program.

While the three enjoy being student leaders, one of the drawbacks is not being able to play and march with the rest of the band.

“I’ve become really rusty on my marching not having to march as much, so it would be nice to get my fundamentals back together,” said Hushour.

“I’ve had only a little time to play my trumpet… my playing skills have definitely worsened since I haven’t been playing,” said Noah.

The position of drum major is not guaranteed every year. Although Matt and Elizabeth are returning drum majors, they auditioned for this year’s marching season. Noah will need to audition again in the spring if he is interested in being drum major next year.

“It’s important for drum majors to audition every year to keep it fair. Everybody in the band should have an equal opportunity,” said Noah.

The three have won the high drum major award in competition for the band.


Upcoming events

If you have not had the opportunity to see the band perform their show, there is still time.

On Saturday, November 2nd, they will perform midday at the U.S. Bands Regional Championships at U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.

On Sunday, November 3rd, the band will compete in the evening at the Tournament Of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships at Hershey Stadium, Hershey, PA.

In addition, the band will play their show at all regular home varsity football games. If the team gets as far as the playoffs and state championships, the band will perform at those as well.

In the spring, the band will travel to Walt Disney World to perform in the Magic Kingdom parade.