MIDWAY DISTRICT — For the 2015 season, the title for Midway High School’s marching band was “Let’s Fly!,” and with dedication, the student-musicians soared to new heights.
During the Overhills High School competition in November, Midway earned a grand champion award — the highest achievement of the day and a first for the school.
“I feel really good about it,” said director Joshua Tew. “It’s been really exciting.”
The excitement was a result of many practices, which began at the end of the previous school year. After a summer break, practices resumed in August and continued throughout the fall.
“It’s very rewarding because there’s so much work that goes into marching band,” Tew said. “It’s a lot of work and it’s just good to see their hard work pay off. It was really special.”
Freshman Kristine Kolakowski, a bass clarinet player feels the same way as her director.
“It is a lot of hard work,” she said. “It takes a lot of effort. If You think you’re going to be in marching band and not do anything — you’re completely wrong. You’re going to put in time, you’re going to put in effort and hopefully you get the outcome you want.”
She noted how it was the fulfillment of a goal for the group.
“Their goal this year was to reach grand champion and we did,” Kolakowski said. “It’s the seniors last year, so I feel happy for them too.”
Many audiences were entertained by the students as they music associated with the evolution of flight and how it’s a big part of transportation today. The show featured props such as large planes and a large North Carolina “First in Flight” banner.
Dylan Hickok, freshman tuba player, was thrilled during the moment at the competition. He liked the effort put into the show.
“When you put effort into stuff, you get a good outcome,” Hickok said.
Midway was primarily in Class 3A, which is based on the size of the band. During the season, the students had to battle the weather, but was still able to have big achievement at other competitions in music, color guard, general effect, marching and drum major leadership.
“We had a lot of rain this year and it kind of threw a wrench into things,” Tew said. “But we made it through and still did well.”
Along with playing challenging music, the band takes pride in earning big awards with a lot of freshmen in the band.
“It’s a lot of pieces that that have to come together,” Tew said. “It’s not just something that we just show up and do. It was a lot of work, but I think the kids saw that it was awarding.”
For Tew and other band directors, the work does not stop with marching season. Before the fall competitions, Midway participated in a district concert band festival in the spring and earned a superior rating.
“That was another first,” he said. “That’s a special memory that many of those kids will have, that will be stuck forever.”
Kolakowski and Hickok said alluded to how a bond is formed with members in the band.
“We’re like a family,” Hickok said.
Tew, a Midway High School graduate, stressed that music is an important part of education and the school, near Spivey’s Corner.
“Students enjoy it and it’s something they can be successful at,” Tew said. They’re part of a team and there’s so many benefits of music. I like where our program is at and where it’s headed.”
The students are currently preparing for area Christmas parades and their free winter concert, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the school.
Tew has enjoyed directing the band at Midway for several years. So far, he believes it’s the most successful season so far.
“I have enjoyed this season a lot,” Tew said about the ensemble with about 75 students. “The band has grown, we were successful and the kids had fun putting on a good show.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.