Grand Ledge Band Exhibition Returns

Grand Ledge’s unranked band exhibition returned this year, after its absence last year, due to COVID-19. Band students and fans alike were thrilled. The crowd was ecstatic, cheering throughout the four-hour-long show. The marchers were buzzing during rehearsal. Countless rehearsals lead up to this.


  “[There was] A lot of work and practices and painstaking days in band classes,” trombonist Zofia Russell said. “A lot of 6-8 night practices.”


  This year’s exhibition looked quite a bit different from previous years due to COVID-19 precautions. All 21 bands had to warm up outside instead of inside, creating more of a crowded atmosphere on the field.


  Exciting as its return is, a lot has to go into planning the exhibition before it can happen. The Comet’s Tale sat down with Grand Ledge High School’s Director of Bands John Szczerowski and asked him what the process of setting up a band exhibition looked like.


  “The biggest part is creating the schedule and the order in which the bands perform,” John Szczerowski said. “Logistically it’s a lot of planning, but once it’s up and running it’s pretty smooth.”


  After schedules were created for all 21 bands, timing was figured out, and rehearsals were rehearsed, the exhibition finally happened, opening with the Grand Ledge Marching Band performing the national anthem. As the other bands were performing, the Grand Ledge marching band was applauding and supporting them from the stands until it was time to head back to the band room and warm up. Feelings were mixed between students before going on the field. 


  “I felt really anxious,” flutist Hannah Poirier said.


  “I didn’t know what was gonna happen and I was excited to find out,” Russell said.


  The stands were packed by the time Grand Ledge was ready to play, with people having to line up on the sides of the football field. Grand Ledge took the field, and began the opening number to their America themed show, America the Beautiful. They continued with a mashup of America by Neil Diamond and America from West Side Story led by drum major Jade Friedils. Next, the percussion section shined during the performance of My Shot from Broadway Musical Hamilton.


  After closing out their performance with a more energetic rendition of their opening number, the crowd went wild and when the Michigan State University Marching Band took the field, the crowd grew even wilder. MSU’s performance was dedicated to football coach, Mel Tucker. They performed pop anthems throughout the decades, all of which were on the coach’s playlist, as well as the MSU Fight Song.


  After the crowd filed out of the stands, the Grand Ledge Marching Band had the time to reflect on the night.


  “I’m really proud of the performance and the people,” Russell said, smiling.