Band of the Week 2019 - Braden River Marching Band of Pirates
BRADENTON - Entering a Braden River band practice means you're following a strict system.
"Go by the procedures, do exactly what we've always been doing, how it's always done in order, and everything has to be perfect," drum major Penelope Sugg says about band director Jeramiah Bowman's system.
It has been successful for him. But when Bowman took over the Braden River marching band in 2016, many upperclassmen still preferred their old band director.
"They knew the procedures for marching band but on a personal level, they missed [their previous band director]," Sugg says.
That led to disappointment at the 2016 State Championship for the then two-time state champions.
"With the school's reputation, we didn't place very well," Sugg remembers.
For the older players at the time, this was a step backwards. They had won a state championship in 2013! But for Penelope, who was a freshman, she didn't know what that felt like.
"Seeing everyone else cry and all the people who had helped me learn how to march cry, it hurt me and it made me want to earn back what they didn't get, not only for them but for ourselves so we could make them proud."
And despite the band's reputation, Penelope says the band felt like underdogs.
"[We would say] that other bands were more experienced or had more people than us or more players."
And yet, her sophomore year, they marched forward and took home a state championship. And then again in 2018.
The pressure for three in row? Pretty big if you ask junior Allison Guzman,
"It's hard because I don't know anything other than a state championship."
The halftime show is fitting for this group of kids. It's called Rise. They rise in volume. They rise over obstacles. They rise in tempo. And then as they've done throughout high school, Braden River rises above all challenges. The final movement depicts a rising river, meant to be the band students of Braden River, going above all challenges.
"We're Mr. Bowman's first graduating class from the school. We're his first class that he's going to let go. The show he created for us [is] really special. It just shows how much we've worked all these years."
The state championships are this weekend in Daytona. The band's going to get to work. Penelope looks at her fellow band students with Allison, some of them she's performed with all four years, and looks forward to their next performance,
This is the final episode of the 2019 Band of the Week series. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you next year!