• Important Dates -->
  • 11/22-24: Thanksgiving Break
  • 12/5: School Store Holiday Shopping Night
  • 12/6: Orchestra Concert
  • 12/7: Band Concert
  • 12/8: Rock Ridge Hackathon
  • 12/8: Frost Fest
  • 12/11-12/15: Winter Spirit Week
  • 12/12: Guitar Concert
  • 12/14: Chorus Concert
  • 12/15: Winter Pep Rally
  • Dec. 20-Jan 1: Winter Break
The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Persevering for Prestige: Marching Band Overcomes Wonky Weather

Although many competitions and performances have been canceled due to unexpected severe weather, the marching band has persisted through challenges for a successful season. For many of the seniors, this season will wrap up their dedicated careers and allow them to pass the torch onto the younger members of the program.
Sruthi Vivek
The trumpet section plays in a unified harmony at practice on Thursday, Oct. 19. They fine-tuned their synchronization to be prepared for competition on Oct. 21. “When there is energy in the show, you can definitely feel it,” senior Shoumik Bisoi said.

One of the first remarks a person will hear about the marching band is, “Oh wow, they’re really good!” This common reaction between schools and students, due to the respectable reputation of the marching band program, is a result of work for many seasons to fine-tune and refine the quality of their performances. 

However, this season has come with some unexpected hurdles, mainly due to weather delays and cancellations of competitions. The band has had to maintain its honorable status while not having enough performance experience in front of judges or crowds. “[The weather] has been canceling almost all of our competitions and rehearsals,” junior flutist Maanu Karthikeyan said. “It has really been cutting back on the limited amount of time that we have to perform and practice.” 

The band has only performed in front of a crowd a handful of times this season. They performed at the Homecoming and Pink Out football games and two competitions so far this season. The band competed at Woodgrove High School on Oct. 7 to kick start their competitive schedule of the season. The program placed second in the 4a division and second overall for their first competition. “[We] were kind of disappointed, since we always place first overall,” sophomore flutist Ainika Akuthota said. “[However], since it was our first competition, everyone decided to use it as an incentive to get better.”

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That competition was the first time the marching band performed together in front of judges and a crowd this season. All of the other schools that they went up against had already performed a few times and had time to fix their mistakes. “That was our first competition, so we never received feedback,” Bisoi said. “It was definitely a wake up call.”

Despite the difficult weather conditions, the marching band has worked twice as hard this season to maintain their hard-earned reputation. They’ve been able to adapt quickly to the situation and still have time to practice in order to prepare for competitions. “We’ve been doing really well keeping up with our drill and music even though we haven’t practiced as much,” Karthikeyan said. “We just move [our equipment] indoors and work on music if we can.” 

Experienced band members have reflected on their performances this year and have compared it to years prior. “I don’t think we’ve been doing as well as last year, mostly because we haven’t had enough time to practice,” Karthikeyan said. “It’s hard to assess how we’re doing since we’ve only had one competition so far, but hopefully we improve.” 

The marching band performed at their second competition of the season at Freedom High School on Oct. 21. The program placed first in the 4a division and second overall. “We were glad that we placed first in our division, but we weren’t too happy that we didn’t place first overall,” Akuthota said. “[Band director Justin Ratcliff] will probably change around some drills to make [the performance] cleaner.” 

Passing The Torch:

This season has also proven to be a challenge to the freshmen and new marching band members, since they haven’t had prior experience on how the band usually operates. “A lot of [the new underclassmen] are really confused so far, because they’re really new to the whole idea of marching band,” Karthikeyan said. “[The section leaders] haven’t had enough time to explain everything, so I’ve just been helping [them] when I can.” 

The band has heavily relied on the upperclassmen to take leadership and show the underclassmen the ropes this season. “When I see someone doing something wrong, I’ll point it out and slowly explain it to them, so that they understand it and don’t repeat the mistake,” Karthikeyan said. 

For seniors, this season was their last opportunity to pass the torch onto the underclassmen. Senior snare drummer Shoumik Bisoi has been a very influential leader in the program as well as in the drumline. A four-year member of the band, Bisoi feels content with the skills that he’s learned as well as the friendships and memories that he’ll hold onto. He plans to continue being connected to music even after high school. “I do have other music-related hobbies that I like to do,” Bisoi said. “I hope to pursue the DJ route in college and see where it takes me.”

Senior Shoumik Bisoi (right) takes charge of his section and maintains a steady tempo to shadow the sounds of the rest of the marching band. “We work well together when everyone is [playing] together,” Bisoi said. (Sruthi Vivek)

Bisoi has been the drumline section leader for two years and he’s seen improvement regarding commitment and the quality of performance from his section. “The first year [that I was leading the drumline] was a lot rougher in the sense that [our section] was a lot smaller compared to everyone,” Bisoi said. “It was definitely a challenge to get everyone on the same page.”

Bisoi has taken the time to make sure that his section works harder because of their size difference compared to the rest of the band. “I put them in a position to put in a lot more effort, and that really set us up for this year,” Bisoi said. “Now everything is laid back.” 

The underclassmen have adapted to the schedules and culture of marching band pretty quickly. “I really respect how easily they adjusted,” Bisoi said. “They were very quick to adapt to the standards.” 

The juniors and seniors definitely rubbed off on the underclassmen and showed them the ropes quickly, but nonetheless, the underclassmen were able to pick up techniques and get to the same speed as the rest of the program in a very short period of time. “[The underclassmen] have a lot of energy because they’re all really vibrant kids,” Bisoi said. “They play very well when the music is enjoyable.”

Overall, members of the marching band are content with their performances this season and they hope that they can carry on the legacy of the band for many years to come. “We’re all working together to get the underclassmen up to speed so that we can win more next year,” Akuthota said.

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About the Contributors
Sruthi Vivek, Sports Editor
Sruthi Vivek is a sophomore and this is her second year on “The Blaze” staff. She is the Sports Editor, and she’s looking forward to all of the amazing things that the staff will accomplish this year. Sruthi plays for the Rock Ridge varsity basketball team, and she loves sports in general. She loves going to football games and hanging out with her friends at tailgates. When she’s not out socializing, you can usually find Sruthi in her room stressing about school work or watching TV shows. She’s also very passionate about art and loves to paint in her free time as well. Sruthi is a huge music fan, and you’ll usually find her listening to R&B and rap artists like Bryson Tiller, Drake, Travis Scott, and Tory Lanez. She originally joined Newspaper her freshman year because she loves to write and take pictures.
Sam Cho, Staff Writer
Sam Cho is a senior in his first year on the Newspaper staff. He decided to join because he wanted to become a part of a new source at Rock Ridge. As of right now, Cho is part of the SCA, where he helps organize events such as prom, pep rallies, and homecoming. He is part of the lacrosse team as a long stick middie. He is looking forward to graduating and attending college and studying Public Health. Cho also enjoys playing basketball with friends and maintaining his reselling business in his free time. “I believe that a key to newspaper, from what I’ve seen so far, is to be more open to new people and be more active in finding resources,” Cho said.

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