Marching Redhawks travel to ISU for state championships

The Marching Redhawks perform at the Prospect High School Knight of Champions, the competition before ISU. Despite inclement weather, the Marching Redhawks took 1st in their class, received caption awards for Best Auxiliary, Best Visual General Effect, Best Music General Effect (tied with Naperville North) and Best Percussion. They received 2nd place overall. Video courtesy of Jeff LeBeda

Nolan O' Rear, Correspondent

On Oct. 17, the Naperville Central Marching Redhawks traveled to Illinois State University (ISU) to compete with the top marching bands in the state in the Illinois State University Invitational Marching Championships.

“I was facing the crowd, and seeing everybody’s faces was really nerve wrecking,” Junior Drum Major Hannah Estoll said.

While the experience was intense for some marching band members, their performance did not show it. With a score of 65.60, the Marching Redhawks finished fifth in their field, placing ahead of Fremd and Warren Township. Even though the Marching Redhawks failed to reach the finals, Band Director Brandon Estes is still proud of their performance.

“I hope they remember this experience forever,” Estes said.

Estoll also felt strongly about just how tight-knit and hardworking the marching band is.

“It’s just this big family, and I love that aspect of it,” Estoll said.

Senior Drum Major Ellen Gayde has cultivated friendships through the marching band experience, as being in the marching band creates great memories for the members and creates special bonds among them.

“It was awesome working with my best friend Mackenzie Coyne,” Gayde said. Coyne is the other Senior Drum Major.

In order to be prepared for major competitions like the one at ISU, marching band members have a demanding schedule that calls for leadership meetings after school on Mondays, practice every day of the school week, and competitions on saturdays like the ISU state final. All of this time spent practicing and rehearsing may seem like a sacrifice, but not to Estoll who finds performing very rewarding.

“I honestly love what I do, so I don’t see it as a sacrifice,” Estoll said. “It’s cool that the school is so supportive of the marching band, especially the football team and coaches. It’s not like that at a lot of other schools.”

Central’s Head Curricular Band Director DJ Alstadt was not the Director of Marching Band as he had been previous years, leaving the Assistant Band Director Brandon Estes in charge for the season. Despite these changes, the band excelled and experienced very few setbacks.

The Marching Redhawks also traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium to compete in the Indianapolis Super Regional on Oct. 23-24.

“It was definitely one of our best performances. We saved the best for last,” Gayde said regarding the band’s performance at the Indianapolis Super Regional.

While the Marching Redhawks work very hard on their show for various reasons, senior and Battery Section Leader Sam Cohn had one particular reason.

“I like performing in front of large crowds and impressing people,” Cohn said. “I love leaving it all on the field.

With their season over, the Marching Redhawks will look to the future to improve upon their past performances and continue their program.