SARASOTA (SNN TV) - Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective.

When I visited the Riverview High Marching Kilties in 2021, a refrain I heard was – it’s nice to do the stuff  that we couldn’t in 2020 – Jam Time, an actual halftime show – but for senior Willa Gutowski’s perspective, 2020 was incredible.

“It was the best experience that I have ever had, so it was confusing to see other people, like, complaining all the time about it," Gutowski says.

She moved to Florida her freshman year in 2019. She didn't know she could still join the marching band at that point, so her first year marching in the Kilties ended up being 2020. And her middle school band, unlike the Kilties, met once a week.

“So all the restrictions for COVID didn’t impact me as much because I didn’t know what the product was that I was missing out on," she says.

There’s also co-drum major and junior Molly McWilliams. Her first year in band was also 2020, so she had a reduced halftime show.

“We would, like, march to our spot. Then we’d play. We’d march to the next one,” she says. With a normal halftime show, there will be movement during the songs. In 2020, they only moved to get to the next song.

She moved a grand total of three times.

“I’m so impressed with our freshman this year because I couldn’t find my spot and we only had three of them. These freshmen? On their own level. I could not do that. Ain’t no way," McWilliams says.

And then there’s Andras Karpathy: from his perspective, the heavy Scottish influence of the Kilties is what gives the band its distinct identity.

“It is so cool having bagpipes. A lot of other bands don’t, and we get to say, yeah, we do! And we’re cool like that!” Karpathy says.

Which is why it’s fascinating to me that the Scottish Kilties are going hardcore Irish with their halftime show this year.

It makes sense – for their spring trip, they’re going to Boston for Saint Paddy’s Day, so their entire show is Boston themed.

I wonder if it’s a big deal to Molly McWilliams.

“Molly McWilliams, very Irish background, and I did Irish dance for almost my whole life. St. Paddy’s Day in Boston... I’m so excited,” she says.

How lucky for her. And the Kilties. And audiences who get to listen to them.

Kiltie band directors Tamara Lewis and Chuck Evans gave very helpful information for this story. We thank them so much. The Riverview Band's next performance is this Friday, September 16, at a home game against LeHigh.