The Beautiful and Bittersweet of The Band

Senior Marian band members make last trip to Grand Nationals


Yaffa Gallon

The Marian Catholic Marching Band ahead of Grand Nationals held last weekend in Indianapolis.

By Class of '23, Special Contributors

“Meow, Meow, Meow, Meowwww.” 

I look up from my table in the hotel conference room and see several of my bandmates singing, or screeching, our entire band show–using cat noises. A quiet anger shoots through my body and I put my head back down on the table. I cover my ears and let despair flow over my body.

The band spent over 200 hours rehearsing the last five months. As drum major, I watched as the band ebbed and flowed. I remember a scorching hot rehearsal in July where the band was absolutely exhausted yet continued learning drill with a sense of ferocity. That rehearsal, I felt a hunger emanating from them to be the best. 

I also remember rehearsals where it seemed as if weights were placed on each of us and we were doing our best to just get through the day. 

Senior Kolin Brannon gives the thumbs up ahead of his last performance at Grand Nationals. (Mark Foushi Jr.)

My favorite memories, however, are the ones involving my fellow seniors. I still remember meeting them for the first time freshman year with wide, nervous eyes. I remember complaining with them about 12-hour rehearsals on Saturday or how our section leaders were insane(ly good). I enjoy these memories because they contrast so starkly with the confident senior class that we are today. I never would have imagined freshman year that some of the people around me would end up leading their sections with the passion and intensity I saw this year. 

Unfortunately, for many of us seniors, the ending to this year’s marching season was disappointing. 

At the national competition, we did not qualify for semi-finals–the first time in the band’s history. I felt like I had just let down 40+ years of students before me who had poured their hearts out into the band program. I felt embarrassed.

The “meow” run-through of the show in the hotel conference room made me feel that sense of despair because it replaced, in my mind, what should have been our semi-final run-through. For me, and several other seniors I talked to, it was a shabby replacement. 

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Mr. Bimm gave an insightful talk to the band after we discovered we would not be performing in semi-finals, emphasizing that how we responded as a band to the setbacks is what was really important. 

As a senior, I have high hopes. I see the potential to raise the underclassmen to new musical heights. The Class of 2023 is not done yet, not by a long shot. We will keep fighting to the end.

 – Kolin Brannon, Class of ‘23


The Marian Band fills the parking lot outside of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Yaffa Gallon)

Faith in the Future

Over the last 3-4 years, band has been a large part of my life. 

And in general, being a band member here at Marian Catholic is an unforgettable experience filled with ups and downs but is overall worthwhile. 

The one thing I could say is my biggest take away from the past few marching seasons is that hard work will always be rewarded, no matter if it comes physically in the form of awards, or emotionally in the form of fulfillment and satisfaction. It’s the work we put in that connects us all, and it’s such a beautiful thing to share a passion with people, to work for a common goal, and to go through hardships, pain, laughter, and joy with one another. 

I’m overall so proud of the band, overcoming the impact of COVID-19 on everything, and moving forward. 

Even though awards-wise we did not get results we would have liked, this was a great season, and the message of our show is truly one to be remembered. And if anyone from my section, the alto saxophones, is reading this article, I would like to let you all know that this season could not have been complete without all of you, and I have great faith in the future of the band because I know how diligent you all are. 

Overall, the future of the band looks bright, because there are so many people who love music and want to share their talents, and it’s only a matter of time until they feel just as rewarded for their commitment as I do. 

And remember, heed the message that the messenger delivers, so you are aware of the shadows of things to come. 

 –   Jayla Scarver, Class of ‘23


Pushing through, Marching on

Grand Nationals is where most of my favorite band memories come from. 

Freshman year was really a blur when trying to look back. 

Sophomore year didn’t exist whatsoever because of Covid. 

Junior year was really hard for me because, in the beginning of the year, my ankle “spontaneously combusted” and left me unable to march. By the time it healed, it was too late to be a part of the front ensemble. 

Later on, I basically fell off the face of the earth due to some personal reasons and wasn’t able to cheer on my friends and section. 

This year – senior year – was extremely difficult to come back to, with my personal reasons and obviously my ankle. 

I managed however, to switch up to the front ensemble so I can still be a part of the band. 

Senior Bren Olney is among those who made the trip to Grand Nationals this weekend, (Mark Foushi Jr.)

Whether my name was under “Percussion” or “Low Brass” I was still a part of the low brass group because that was where I was for basically three and a half years. 

So what? We didn’t make it to the semi-finals this year. 

We still had a really great time regardless of whether we were “meowing” through the entire show at the hotel after dinner, screaming “All I Want for Christmas” or eating too much at Golden Corral. 

For a senior year, the news was heartbreaking, but everything that happened this year was probably all anyone could ever ask for.

-Bren Olney, Class of ‘23


Beautiful and Bittersweet

I think I speak for most seniors in the band when I say that we were anticipating Grand Nationals since the summer. 

Marching season goes by so quickly and it is very important for me to cherish every moment. 

Although we struggled this season, all of those struggles have led us to this past week and weekend. 

I know that I want to put everything I’ve learned in four years into these last performances. 

“I want to make it to finals this year” was the common thread amongst many seniors. There is nothing compared to that feeling of being in Lucas Oil Stadium. Thrilling, overwhelming, and powerful are some adjectives that can be used to describe it. 

I’m beyond excited for my final show as bittersweet as it may be. 

It has been a pleasure to work with like-minded people to create something beautiful. I’ve had an amazing four years in the band and I would not trade it for the world. 

– Alana Canino, Class of ‘23