Marching Superiors!

We may know the band as the support to the football team, they always provide victory songs to Apopka’s epic wins. Recently the band had their MPA’s, earning straight superiors. MPA or Music Performance Assessments, is an event where a band will perform to be rated by judges on how well the performance is. The band has been preparing for these MPAs for weeks, rehearsing Tuesdays in the student parking lot. Of course, through all of the rehearsing and practicing, there are many challenges faced by the band players. Saxophonist Adrian Ramsbott, a Junior here at Apopka felt the biggest challenge was “remembering the songs and the movements. Hurricane Ian also pushed us back a bit. So for a lot of our early performances, we weren’t exactly ready to do the whole show.” With the cutback on time, it only rushed the time to prepare. Destiny Gonzalez, another Saxophonist and a Freshman here at APK also felt time was a major challenge for her as they only had “one rehearsal a week. We were supposed to have 8 or 9 rehearsals but half of them got put inside because of rain. So we only really had 6 rehearsals out on the field.” Ashley Murphy, a drum major and Junior here at APK, felt the attention span of everyone was a problem as “it was hard for our director to keep everyone cohesive and together for practices, up until the day for MPA start to inch closer.” Ashley also mentioned the lack of people being an issue they had to overcome as well, “There’s almost never a time where everyone makes it to every rehearsal, even though we wish it were that way.”

Drumline with the Bass Tech and Drum Tech.

Of course, there were struggles before MPA’s, but there were also struggles during the performance, as well. The “third movement” as it’s referred to by multiple band students was apparently a huge challenge for the Apopka Band. Percussionist Rebecca Shapiro, Senior here at APK, discussed the difficulties faced during the “third movement” mentioning, “We did not have the third movement memorized yet, and therefore when we played it there was a good minute of silence right in the middle of the piece. We were all super embarrassed because the other schools had their whole show done and we were still working on learning our third movement.” Ashley Murphy also felt they struggled with the “third movement” saying, “About two weeks ago, we were struggling through our third movement and still trying to put it together.” Although the band struggled, they pulled through like always, as Rebecca explained, “[The] embarrassment we felt as motivation; we were not going to let what happened that day happen to us again and we pushed ourselves and worked harder.” The movement has been the “best we’ve played it,” according to Ashley. “We managed to put together, [the] entire movement about 2 weeks prior to MPA itself, and it went surprisingly really well,” continues Ashley. With that and the band still managing to earn straight superiors, many are proud of our band for being able to pull past the challenges and earn such a high ranking.

Apopka Clarinets

Although there were many challenges and stress caused by MPA’s, many of the band members always had something to look forward to when going to MPA. Ashley mentioned one of her favorite things about MPA other than performing is “being able to see other bands perform, and see some band’s performances again. As expected, it was really fun to be able to see the work other schools put into their show, and the dedication they have to the same craft we have.”  While watching other bands perform is certainly interesting and entertaining, Adrian Ramsbott had his eyes set on performing, “I’m most excited about doing this whole show. We are finally prepared to do the whole thing and all of our hard work has been put into it to make it a good experience for the audience.” There is a lot of bonding that occurs in the band as well, as they all have to come together as a group to produce the piece properly and efficiently, Rebecca was excited to build new “bonds with all the new Freshman during marching season.” You can truly see how much fun our band students have by checking out the individual sections’ Instagram pages such as the @saxesofapk page or the @bluedarter_drumline page, and definitely check out the main band page @apopkabands which contains plenty of information on our amazing Blue Darter band.