Band of the Week 2019 – Booker High Whirlwind Brigade
SARASOTA - It takes enormous dedication to be in a marching band. And if you don't believe me, believe Whirlwind Brigade drum major Zionna Williams.
"Besides band, what do you like to doing in school?" I ask her.
"That's a hard question because I eat, sleep, breathe band. But... sleeping and eating."
"Sleeping and eating!" I exclaim.
"Yeah, for sure," she nods.
"Not many people do."
"Not many people do," she replies.
She was unsure if she should audition to help lead Booker High's band, but her previous drum major, Leah, was a big inspiration.
"Definitely looked up to her, and I knew that I could fulfill her position. I just had to work hard within the band."
So Williams was overwhelmed when she found out she was chosen, but band director Ellen Saxton saw something in her. Just as she saw something in band captain Amy Dang.
"Me and her have gotten closer over the past two years. She really cares about her students, and she really wants the band to be the best that it can be," Dang says.
If the Whirlwind Brigade has an identity it's that it likes its different halftime shows. From evil circuses in 2016, to blooming flowers in 2018.
"This year we're just burning it all down," Dang says.
This year's show is 'Burn.'
"Our theme is like more broad, you know, you can kind of go more off of it," Williams says, "You can do a lot of stuff with burn. You can burn with passion. You can burn while you're working out. We can do a lot of things just based off of our one show."
The show even opens with a piece of music that represents a zinger-type burn.
When you step into one of their performances, you're getting the sounds of one of the smallest marching bands on the Suncoast - just 31 students. All band sizes have their advantages, but Williams appreciates the intimate setting of a small one.
"We all know each other," she says, "We get to grow with each other as a family. We're all friends with each other. It's not, like, separate sections. We're all together as one. One band. One band, one sound. That's what I like to go off of."