BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — It’s a special competition season for the Maumee Marching Pride, but it’s also one with zero expectations.
Last year’s competition schedule was sacrificed to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the marching band no chance to defend its superior rating at the 2019 state show.
Even if this year’s edition of the Marching Pride can’t duplicate the feats of 2019, being able to travel to competitions and host the annual Music in Motion show at Kazmaier Stadium is important.
Maumee band director Eric Boswell found the perfect way to express the feelings through a composer he follows on Twitter.
“He said something along the lines of, ‘Realize that you’ve already won,’” Boswell said. “Last year, there wasn’t a season for many of us.
“Yeah, some people are going to win trophies and others won’t, but realize this year, with the situation we’ve been all doing our best to ride through, and make the best of it. The focus would be that you’ve already won by being out there.”
Senior band president Camryn O’Shea said there’s no pressure this year.
“We’re just excited to be back at this point and perform together,” she said.
Boswell said competition participation across the state is down 40 percent from two years prior. The Music in Motion show, hosted by Maumee on Saturday, October 9 at Kazmaier Stadium, normally has upwards of 12 bands but will have just five this year.
This year’s competition includes Maumee, Swanton, Kalida, Avon and Liberty Benton. The show will start at 5:00 p.m., with Maumee taking the field at 6:30 p.m.
Maumee will perform its show, entitled “Canyons” during the Music in Motion performance. The show begins with a piece from Phillip Glass called “Canyons,” followed by the hit song “You Are the Reason” by Calum Scott. The show closes with “Solaris,” by Robert W. Smith.
The Marching Pride performed in its first competition since 2019 last Saturday at Springfield High School, finishing second in its class. For the band members, just being back out on the field was enough of a thrill after not competing last year.
“It means a lot more, but just being together and sharing these moments with one another is what makes it better,” senior Abigail Tucker said. “Even without having the competitions last year, we still had a good time being around everyone, making music.”
O’Shea admitted last year took some of the fun away from the band experience, but the knowledge and hope that this year would be a return to normalcy kept them pushing through.
“I know we’re all excited to come back and be able to compete again this year,” O’Shea said. “We all worked harder and we knew (this year) we’d be able to come back and do things again.”
Boswell said there have been challenges this year, including recruiting kids to perform with the band and simply getting the younger band members up to speed on what goes into preparing for and performing in a competition show.
“The planning I laid out in July is not the planning I have now,” Boswell said. “You take the students in front of you, you have a plan, you see what’s going on, you make adaptations.
“I can say I’ve changed my plans throughout the season from what I thought in July to where we are now.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the excitement for the Music in Motion show. With the renovations to Kazmaier Stadium funded by the Panther Pride Foun-dation, Boswell said the facilities make it a great place to host a competition.
“It’s very nice to bring folks into Maumee and say, ‘Look, this is for you and this is a tremendous facility that through a lot of donors and alumni we can provide for you to use,’” Boswell said.