Drum Major Emma Belt took a celebratory selfie with the band and Band Director Bill Gordon on the bus after one of their competitions.
Drum Major Emma Belt took a celebratory selfie with the band and Band Director Bill Gordon on the bus after one of their competitions.
Shawe Memorial High School’s Band of Gold this year will celebrate its most successful season yet after bringing home 23 trophies and medals and sweeping four of the six regular-season competitions.

“There’s a ton of trophies, but that’s really just a by-product of all the hard work and fun we had together,” said Walt Stanley, a sophomore and saxophone player.

To sweep a competition means to bring home first in the many award categories — music, visual, general effect, color guard and percussion — along with earning the top overall score.

Bill Gordon, the band director and creator of Shawe’s marching band, credited the success to the students.

“I look at them and I ask: Who are you people?” said Gordon of his group of talented, dedicated musicians.

“We worked really hard over the course of the season,” said Julia Ott, a senior, flute player and color guard member. “We had really strong members, like we have been building up this artillery of really awesome kids that are really talented and have the work ethic to win.”

Olivia Drumm, a freshman and trumpet player, credited the younger players in the band that are still in junior high for their talent and ability to cooperate and work together as a team and helping give the band more numbers.

Gordon used Stanley to describe what he means by the talent in the group he’s working with now when talking about Stanely’s solo in this year’s “Dreams of Persia” show.

“We needed his timing,” said Gordon. “He’s just got it...and it’s the seemingly small things like that where we see a big difference in how everything comes together.”

The marching band competes in the Midstates Band Association’s Class A, the class for bands with 35 or fewer musicians. The classification doesn’t include the drum major or color guard.

“In band, no one sits the bench,” said Emma Belt, a senior, clarinet player and this year’s drum major.

“And, each player and every part is important,” said Drumm. “Every part adds to the sound or the flow of the piece.”

And with a band of just over 30 musicians, each instrument and the part they play becomes even more important for the strength of the sound.

“We may be small but we pack a lot of power,” said Charity Green, a senior and lead trumpet player.

“I feel really accomplished more than sad,” said Ott of what was her last marching season. “We were able to experience all this fun stuff…”

Gordon started a marching band at Shawe in 2012 and has been working with the past and present students to build it. In the first two years they marched in local parades. They entered their first competitions in 2014. This season they had 42 members between their musicians and color guard.

“Your band is like your family — you get to know everyone on such a personal level so that’s what it feels like you are,” said Cooper Birge, and eighth grader and tuba player who joined the marching band this year. “If I hadn’t joined, I’d have missed out.”

At the MSBA championship, Shawe placed 14th overall of 30 bands and 5th overall for their percussion.

Courier staff writer Tali Hunt can be reached at thunt@madisoncourier.com or 812-265-3641