Loy Norrix Band marches back after two years away from competing

Senior drum major Matthew Gray conducts the band as they play their halftime show finale, “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco at the homecoming game on October 15.

Credit: Milo Turner

Senior drum major Matthew Gray conducts the band as they play their halftime show finale, “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco at the homecoming game on October 15.

Alec Ward, Staff Writer

Anyone from Loy Norrix will tell you that beating Kalamazoo Central is a highlight of the year. The students talk about it at school the next day, congratulate the athletes, and show a little bit more school spirit. But the talk about the marching band’s victory over Kalamazoo Central on September 25th was relatively quiet. Most students didn’t even know that these kids even competed.

On the evening of Saturday, September 25th, the Loy Norrix Marching Knights traveled to Otsego High School for the Otsego Scholastic Invitational to take part in their first competition in two years. The Marching Knights competed against Kalamazoo Central and Mattawan High School in the Class A division, performing their halftime show.

The air was filled with the sound of three well known songs: “Happy Together” by The Turtles, “Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk, and “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco.

The band members quickly maneuvered around the field, forming intricate shapes while playing their instruments. The color guard waved their flags and the drum majors confidently conducted the band throughout the show. At the end of the performance, the band stood at attention, and then confidently marched off the field.

“I thought that because we had good fundamentals, I thought we would get an okay score,” said senior drum major Luis Sanchez. “I didn’t think we would get first, but I didn’t think we would get third.”

The Marching Knights then anxiously watched Kalamazoo Central and Mattawan perform, giving them encouragement along the way. Once all three bands had performed, everyone waited patiently for the scores.

In the end, the Marching Knights finished second out of three bands, barely edging out Kalamazoo Central with a score of 74.7 out of 100. This was a great relief to many of the band members who were unsure of how well they would do.

“I felt relieved because usually Norrix is looked at as always last,” said Sanchez, “but I was happy that we got second place.”

Many members, especially seniors, were concerned about this season and how they would do competitively. The band this year is only about two-thirds the size it was two years ago, and the majority of the band members are freshmen and sophomores. With limited options due to COVID-19, they weren’t able to have the amount of practice time they usually would have.

“I wasn’t nervous,” said junior and snare drum Wesley Baker. ”I just thought it would be slow learning new stuff this year.”

However, this performance gave the band a boost of confidence about the rest of the marching season. The band had not learned all of the marching drill by the time of the invitational, which may have hurt their score in Otsego. By the time of the next competition, they will have had time to learn the rest of their marching and fortify what they already know.

“I hope to see that we improve in many ways because next week is the MSBOA festival,” said Sanchez, “and we will learn from our mistakes to accomplish more.”

The Marching Knights have now finished up their competition season, and just have one more parade for the season. Loy Norrix hopes for  growth and improvement for years to come.