Step-by-Step: A Marching Band Timeline

Adelaide Barrett, Staff Writer

On Oct. 11, the McIntosh football team played against Fayette County High School. It was a close back-and-forth game, with the Chiefs ultimately winning 21-20. After the game, the marching band, which had performed pre-game and played in the stands, traveled back to McIntosh. Exhausted, they left school around 10 p.m. Less than 12 hours later, the Spirit of McIntosh marching band was back at school, ready for an early-morning rehearsal before one of the biggest events of their season: their first competition. 

8:20 a.m.

The day’s rehearsal began promptly at 8:30 am. Following the band’s principle that “early is on time,” members of the band arrived as early as 8 a.m. to help set up for practice. Each section was assigned a duty such as bringing electronics down to the rehearsal location, unloading and setting up props on the field, or filling coolers with water and ice. 

8:30 a.m. 

Rehearsal began on the baseball field. The band practiced portions of their show over and over, taking care that each step was in time and each note was in tune. Occasionally, they stopped rehearsing just long enough for a gush-and-go, in which they sprinted to the sideline, took a swig of water, and ran back to their spot on the field to get set for the next rep. The practice, under the leadership of directors Barbara Baker and Michelle Amosu, was focused and fast-paced, with little room for error or hesitation. 


12:00 p.m.

Satisfied with their progress, the band wrapped up their rehearsal and began to load for departure. Percussion and wind instruments were put on the equipment bus and props were secured in trailers and trucks. As they completed their duty, students went back into the band room, where parent volunteers served them lunch. 

2:30 p.m.

Finally ready to depart, the Spirit of McIntosh boarded three school buses. Most students came prepared for the two hour trip to Haralson County High School, packing their duffle bags with headphones, comfy clothes, and plenty of snacks. 

4:25 p.m. 

As the buses pulled into the parking lot, the band’s excitement transformed into focus. As they disembarked, band staff urged students to concentrate with reminders like, “Your performance starts now.” As the Spirit of McIntosh traveled from location to location in two straight lines, they heard the faint, distant sounds of other bands’ warm-ups and performances. 

7:00 p.m. 

After a meticulous warm-up, the band traveled to the performance location. As they set up their props and found their opening spots on the field, the announcer of the competition read a list of band leadership, show soloists, and previous band accomplishments. Then, he said the magic words. 

“Drum majors Rachel Cox and Elizabeth Wilson, is your band ready? You may take the field in 3A competition.” 

For the first time in their 2019 season, the Spirit of McIntosh performed the show “Treasures of the Sea” in competition. A video of the band’s full performance is available at this link.

9:00 p.m. 

The awards ceremony at the competition consisted of individual ratings and class placements. The Spirit of McIntosh received superior ratings in the drum major, colorguard, and band categories, as well as an excellent rating in the percussion category. They also placed first in class for colorguard. 

1:30 a.m.

The band arrived at McIntosh, where they unloaded props and electronics. Finally, around 2 a.m., the exhausted but triumphant members of the Spirit of McIntosh went home.