Eagle Regiment marching band places fifth overall in the Bands of America Regional Championships


Scott Rush

Junior Dylan Lynton performs his clarinet solo midway through the “The Living Seas” marching band show. He had to audition for the special part against his section leader and ultimately secured the solo spot after hours of practice. Photo courtesy of Scott Rush

Ivy Lam, Senior Feature Editor

Silk flags wave in the air as brass instruments reflect the stadium light and shine upon the audience. Student-crafted props glow in their places on the field as the musicians stand in silence with their eyes trained on the white-gloved hands of the drum major; the first gestures initiate the start of their performance.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Eagle Regiment marching band competed at the Bands of America Regional Championship held on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Composed of around 120 musicians and color guard members, the group arrived at school on Saturday around 5:45 a.m. and returned the following day around 10:20 p.m.

The theme for the show this school year was “The Living Seas,” a story of ocean exploration and aquatic discoveries. Typically, the performers wear their marching bibbers with their MSD coat jacket on top; however, the musicians wore poncho-like capes with multiple tones of blue to represent varying shades of water. Props representing coral, the natural habitat of fish, further reinforced the marine concept.

Out of 28 high schools, the Eagle Regiment scored a 81.650 in the preliminary competition, placing fifth to qualify for Finals; only the Top 12 groups made it to Finals. Throughout the show, several individuals performed solos, one being clarinet player and junior Dylan Lyton who had to audition against his section leader.

“I listened to my part multiple times and I initially played it very slowly. I got more comfortable with the fast tempo and I was able to pretty quickly get a lot more confident in playing it,” Lynton said.

The regional competition featured over two dozen high school marching bands from the southern United States, such as North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. MSD placed fifth overall with a score of 83.275.

“My favorite memory would have to be when they called out our 83.275 score. We’ve never scored that high, and the sudden reactions of my fellow leadership staff and other band members is a moment I’ll never forget,” band captain Grace Cavarretta said. “It was a really good feeling, one that I haven’t had since my freshman year, which was the last time we placed in the top 5. It really made band come full circle for me and the senior class.”

The Eagle Regiment sticks to a strict practice schedule, putting upwards of sometimes more than 20 hours a week of rehearsal and performance. The ensemble often performs at football games and other school-sanctioned events for parents and students.

“[The amount of time we rehearse] might sound like a lot from an outside perspective, but there are so many things to perfect with our craft that this time is needed in order to produce our show,” Cavaretta said. “From drill to music, choreo, and many other aspects of marching band, we always try our best to use our practice time as efficiently as possible.”

On Sunday, Oct. 23, the marching band spent the day at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios and returned that same night. For many of the members, being in the Eagle Regiment has offered the opportunity to develop leadership skills, musicianship and life-long friendships.

“[In band] you get to experience a lot of wonderful things, learn important skills and help promote music education,” Lynton said.

In the upcoming weeks, the Eagle Regiment marching band will compete at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. The trip will be from Wednesday, Nov. 9 to Monday, Nov. 14; since MSD has never attended before, they will be making history.