Huron Valley Marching Band 2022 season recap


Madison Curtis

The mellophones performing their solo at the 2022 Michigan Competing Band Association Championships at Ford Field, located in downtown Detroit.

Madison Curtis, Assistant Editor

After months of hard work and dedication, members of the Huron Valley Marching Band performed their production, Smooth Criminal, at the 2022 MCBA State Championships. The show consisted of musical programming from Strange Humors by John Mackey, Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap, Bad Guy by Billie Eilish, and Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson.

Robert Green, Huron Valley Marching Band Director and Director of Bands at Lakeland, Milford and International Academy West, has headed the program since the creation of the unified band last school year. In their first year of competition, the HVMB placed 9th at the 2021 MCBA Championships.

During summer break, the marching band reunited and welcomed new members. With attention set on nationals in Indianapolis at the end of the season, members participated in multiple practices weekly, along with various competitions at surrounding high schools in the area.

On Nov. 5, members met at Milford High School in the early hours of the morning to board their buses and head to downtown Detroit. Huron Valley was the first of 10 Flight-I bands – bands representing schools with 2,042+ students enrolled each year – to perform. They competed against bands throughout Michigan: Dakota, Clarkston, Hudsonville, Grand Blanc, Novi, Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, Lake Orion, Walled Lake, and Rockford High Schools.

At 7:45 in the morning, the HVMB took the field. Their performance was centered around the theft of the prized diamond, which was surrounded by band members in the middle of the field. By the end of the show, the diamond was nowhere to be found – stolen by the color guard, hence the production’s name Smooth Criminal. 

Both marching band and color guard electrified the stadium and left the audience wanting more. Unfortunately, technical difficulties rendered the band subject to a deduction of points due to their reliance on audio for timing.

“We had major technical difficulties with our sound equipment, which is a big part of our show, and the kids responded with class and professionalism and pushed right through it! I was very proud of them,” Green explained.

Matthew Stewart, Milford senior and drum major also commented on the band’s quick thinking, “Our sound effects and vocals didn’t work, but we adapted on the fly during the performance.”

All of the competing bands had the opportunity to earn 100 points. They were judged on music field performance (10%), music ensemble performance (20%), visual field performance (10%), visual ensemble performance (20%), music general effect (20%), and visual general effect (20%).

Huron Valley placed 10th overall with a total score of 75.85 points. First place was awarded to Rockford High School, followed by Lake Orion and Walled Lake High Schools.

Some members were disappointed, even if the end result was out of their control. “Just knowing that we were better than that and coming up short really stings,” Lakeland Senior Tyler Brock commented. “We’ve had so many better runs. It just wasn’t our day.”

Although the band did not place as high as their talent and skill conveys, members used the experience as a learning opportunity to prepare for Nationals the following week. On Nov. 11, they performed at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, marking the end of their season.

Stewart commented on their performances, “I think State Finals was a great and fun performance for the marching band, and we had an even better run at Nationals.”

The leaders and members of both marching band and color guard have a lot to take away from this past season. After some reflection on their previous shows, Fountain, Green and Cheney shared advice for younger members.

Fountain recommended band members “have a more positive attitude and bring that to our rehearsals!”

Similarly, Green stated, “Every individual needs to continue to strive to show up 100% ready to do their job. They work hard at practice, but if we had one area I’d stress it would be individual preparation outside rehearsal.”

Cheney suggested that the guard could focus on “connecting the choreography to the field and make it all look smooth and put together.”

Overall, as the Class of 23’ takes on their final months as seniors, the marching band and color guard has left its mark on its graduating members. Through the chaos of COVID and trials of high school, both programs remained a safe space for its participants.

In a statement to younger band members, Brock declared, “Cherish it, because once you’re done, you’re done, and there’s no second chances. Also, put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to take risks.”