New notes: Pride of Westfield marching band to perform ‘Uncharted’

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The Pride of Westfield marching band is getting ready for its upcoming season with a performance that will bring audience members to new territories and beyond the parameters of what they already know.

The 115-member band will perform “Uncharted” during its shows that will feature nautical and map elements incorporated into the show, said Andrew Muth, band director. Among the songs incorporated into the show will be “Come Sail Away” by Styx and “Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings, he added.

“We’re tying it a lot to how we use maps and how we use the stars to navigate and there’s a lot of music that explores the idea of sailing and being on the water, and it’s a lot about exploring and pushing beyond what you know,” Muth said.

Students have put plenty of work into refining and preparing for their performance during band camp over the summer. Ava Alessandrini, a sophomore, and Caleb McConkey, a senior, are leading the band this year as drum majors.

Alessandrini said her role is keeping the band in time while directing them, adding that she also serves as “basically the backbone and the foundation of how the show’s going to be.” But preparation is key as students have put many hours practicing their performance while ensuring that everyone works together on the field, she added.

She said she looks forward to the season as the Pride of Westfield marching band has moved up to division Open Class A, meaning it will compete against larger schools. Alessandrini will work closely to direct the band this season with McConkey, who said learning an entirely new show is more than just the music.

McConkey said students must learn to be in time with the rhythm, noting that this season, they have focused a lot of their time on dancing as part of their performance.

“It’s basically knowing all of that stuff – you have warmups, you have dancing, you have marching and it’s a lot of things to look forward to,” he said.

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Students practice during band camp July 26 at Westfield High School. (Photos by Matthew Kent)

The Pride of Westfield marching band was named the ISSMA Scholastic A state champion in 2021 and in 2022. Last season, the band made it to the Bands of America regional finals last season and narrowly missed making the Indianapolis super-regional finals, which is the largest in the country, according to Muth.

But Muth said those overall placements put the marching band in a good position coming into this year’s season while challenging students with a new production that is more difficult than last year’s performance, “The Dark Horse.”

“What we’re asking them to do has really increased in demand and our expectations of the level of excellence that we’re going to get out of students is also going to be a lot higher,” Muth said. “It’s time to take that next step for us.”

Muth added that being competitive is important for the band, especially as it has bumped up to a new marching band division for the upcoming season.

“We want to make sure we’re being competitive with groups around us, but we also want students to have a really good experience and we want them to walk away with valuable life lessons that they’ll be able to take with them well beyond high school,” he said. “Obviously, we want them to have an appreciation and love for music, but honestly, our whole goal is that growth. Can this be the best growth that we’ve had?

“And that’s always the goal and this year’s especially challenging, and that’s the challenge for all these kids is how do we up the ante from last year?”

Muth applauded the leadership of Alessandrini and McConkey.

“We depend on our student leaders to make our program happen … and those kids understand their roles and responsibilities,” he said. “We’re just really excited to represent Westfield and with all the success we had last year, we’re really proud we can bring recognition and honor to our community and school system, and they take great pride in us, and we take great pride in representing Westfield.”

But Muth said at the end of the day, winning awards isn’t necessarily a key focus for him as band director, noting that “winning is a byproduct of excellence for us.”

“We focus on being excellent and the rest works itself out, so we always tell the kids choose excellence at every single thing that they do and if they can do that, we’ll have a great chance of the outcome they want to see,” Muth said.

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Students practice during band camp July 26 at Westfield High School. (Photos by Matthew Kent)

2023 Show Schedule

  • Sept. 9: Festival of Champions at Westfield High School
  • Sept. 16: Northwestern High School Invitational
  • Sept. 23: Bands of America Ohio Regional
  • Sept. 30: Fishers High School Invitational
  • Oct. 7: ISSMA State Regional
  • Oct. 14: Cavalcade of Champions
  • Oct. 20: Bands of America Super Regional
  • Oct. 21: ISSMA Semi-State & BOA Indy Finals
  • Oct. 28: ISSMA State Finals

*Band will also performance at half-during Westfield High School football games on Aug. 18, Sept. 8, Sept. 22 and Oct. 6


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