SARASOTA - During my visit of the Booker High Whirlwind Brigade, the two seniors I interviewed were in this band all four years. For a band this size, that means they’re two of the few who were freshmen when band director Ellen Saxton began teaching here in 2018.

“Does she view you as her babies?" I ask drum major Alexandra Vidal.

"Yes, she calls us cherubs," Alexandra laughs.

For Alexandra, her experience with Saxton goes back way further than at Booker.

“I had her fourth [grade], fifth. And then middle school we went our separate ways. I got some private lessons from her on clarinet. And then freshman year, surprise, walked into the band room, she’s there," Alexandra says.

She wasn’t completely thrown off guard: she had heard humors Saxton was taking over in 2018. But then came the telltale sign:

“I had a couple of the color guard girls meet her beforehand, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, she’s so sweet.’ And I was like, it has to be Miss Saxton."

Then there’s the other excitable senior I interviewed, Cameron Piekarz, who’s all into their halftime show about another woman leader.

“It’s about the legacy of Cleopatra," Cameron says, "One of the only female rulers of ancient Egypt and kind of her legacy. It’s really just hitting it home how powerful and how influential she was and how, no matter what, thousands of years later, we still remember her today. I’m glad I can say this is my senior show."

The sentiments are shared by Alexandra, who grew up an Ancient Egypt aficionado.

“I was really like a stickler for it, and everything, I was like, 'No you’re wrong!'" she jokes.

The season’s end is fast-approaching – one last home game on Friday, and then one last hurrah for the “cherubs” on a competition on the 13th.

I asked Alexandra, when the season began for her, “Did you go into your first game thinking, ‘This is the last first game?’”

“A little bit, a little bit. It’s upsetting that it’s getting there... [but] I'll never regret anything with marching band.”

Aside from their home game against Lakewood Ranch this Friday, their final performance will be Saturday, November 13th, in competition at the other Riverview High in Hillsborough County.