Banding together

Marching Tiger Band performs as an exhibitionist band at Fishers Invitational.


Photo by Madelyn Garber.

The color guard releasing freshman dance soloist Sophia Phlipot, while the band is playing the music from movement one.

   When someone thinks of marching band, many things come to mind that may not be what marching band is, in reality. The Marching Tiger Band is a family. It may not be by blood, but the relationships that those in the band make will last forever. Marchers learn teamwork, patience, and dedication through band, and all this was showcased during the Marching Tigers performance of ‘Chasing Starlight’ at the Fishers Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

The trumpets and mellophones playing their music from movement one while doing sway-based choreography. (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   Addy Thomas, a junior flute player at FHS, believes that being part of the marching band family is the best part about being involved in the activity. 

   “It’s just a big family and it’s where I’ve met most of my friends, and it’s something physically active,” said Addy.

   According to Thomas, the band can have long-term effects on a person’s character.  While older members of the band can describe the long-term effects of the band on their character, new members describe the instant changes they see in themselves.

   Agastya Ishaan, a junior alto saxophone player, joined the marching band this year, and he noticed the immediate changes that he saw change in his personality.

   “Since this is my first year of doing [marching band], it has pushed some expectations of myself that I didn’t previously have. It has pushed some of the boundaries I had and motivated me to be more focused and more determined,” Ishaan said.

The marching band finishing movement two and preparing to transition to movement three. (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   Janet Gonzalez, a junior clarinet player, is also experiencing marching band for the first time this year. Janet talked about how she encouraged Agastya to join the marching band with her so that they could each have a person to count on in the band.

   “The directors asked me to do it, and I wanted him to be in it too, so I could have someone I know,” Gonzalez said. 

   This ultimately shows a sense of family and support, something that not every other extracurricular or sport has.

   Meanwhile, the older members of this activity are seeing parts of themselves that were completely different a few years earlier. Thomas described the changes in herself over the years.

   “I was definitely shy and weird, well I’m still weird, but I’m more loud now, I can talk now,” Thomas said.

The band and color guard closing out their performance with movement three music and choreography. (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   The marching band goes through a lot together, including training, practices and competitions. The Fishers Invitational, while being a competition for other bands, was an opportunity for improvement for the Marching Tigers.

   Chad Kohler, one of the marching band directors, explained why directing the marching band is so important to him. He shared that marching band has given him every opportunity to strengthen his weaknesses and become more patient. This skill provided the marching band with every opportunity to improve and excel.

   “[Marching band] teaches teamwork, just as much as athletics,” Kohler said. “We teach fundamentals, training, technique, dedication and excellence. We teach about how to get up when you fall down, and it is through art and music. I teach it because seeing the very beginning—the sounds and shapes they make—up until November, and then seeing the looks on students’ faces, seeing it come to fruition, is priceless.”

The flute section practicing the choreography from movement two, while singing the music instead of playing their instruments. (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   The invitational represents a lot for the Fishers Marching Tigers. It represents the product of hard work. It represents what more is to come. It represents what the band has gone through together and what they will excel and conquer together. 

   Invitational judge and clinician Frank Troyka gave feedback to the band following their exhibitionist performance at the invitational. He did this through a post-performance clinic and encouraged marchers to keep a positive outlook on the progress of their show.

   “We tend to move toward and become like the picture in our mind,” Troyka said. “You are a family, and families help each other.”

   Both directors feel as though this year of marching band is different from the years preceding it. Perhaps the reason for such a change would be the increase in marching band participation of approximately 90 kids, according to Kohler. Christopher Dessent, another director of the marching band, described how the vibes of the marching band have evolved since last year, during the post-performance meeting.

Andy Rhebergen, the Marching Tiger’s visual director, explaining the fundamentals of the transition from movements two to three in their performance, ‘Chasing Starlight.’ (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   “I feel like I’m showing up to work with really awesome students,” Mr. Dessent said. “Thank you for being great people and building each other up, and just making us have a really great time here because this year has something really special about it.” 

   Aside from this, the marchers have had a lot of experiences individually and together. Kohler describes how the marching band is a collection of experiences that will be valuable later.

   “I know that most of you aren’t going to use music later in life, as a career,” Kohler said. “But the way that you approach [the performances], is the way you will approach a lot of other things in life.”

   Nathan Adamson, a senior alto saxophone player, has had quite an experience during his time in band and appreciates the way that marching band has characterized him. Adamson had a solo within the performance, which he felt “outlined his skill set”.

The band practicing breathing exercises and warm-ups through the direction of senior drum major Katy Delaney and director Christopher Dessent. (Photo by Madelyn Garber.)

   The Marching Tigers exhibit a family—a family that laughs together, cries together and stays together.  Everyone had their own reasons for joining the marching band and each of these reasons points to the Marching Tiger band being a family.

   “I joined [marching band] because my eighth-grade band director thought that it would be a good fit for me, and he was not wrong,” Adamson said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years of marching band, I met so many friends, and I really feel like I’m part of a family here.”