Band seeks success through flap of a wing

Emily LaHood

What do a Brazilian butterfly, a Texan tornado and a marching band have in common? Morton.

This year, the Morton High School marching band is hitting the field with a show based on the Butterfly Effect: a branch of the Chaos Theory which states that something as small as the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can lead to something as big as a tornado in Texas.

“We want to step up and do something we’ve never done before,” said director Jeff Neavor. “Our goal is to break into semi-finals at nationals and be among the top 32 bands. They’re at the right caliber, and there’s nothing to hold them back.”

In order to achieve these goals, the band works nearly year-round. The staff starts brainstorming and writing the show in November and are designing by January. The students have the month of June free but make up for it in July, when they have sectionals, pre-camp and camp. Then, they enter into football season and various competitions, which lead up to nationals in November.

“I’m spinning 11 months of the year,” said color guard senior Caitlin Robinson. “It’s a lot of practice, and it’s our lives, but otherwise I would be sitting on my butt all summer with nothing to do. I’ll be really upset when it ends.”

Another senior, Nathan Myers, said that while the band works hard, they are only part of the process. “I would give 25 percent credit to the band. The rest of it goes to the staff because they build the program. (Bob) Hornsby is our inspiration. He is so motivational. And, the freshmen deserve credit because they are working so hard.”

Joining the award-winning band as a first year student may seem stressful, but freshman Sophie Katz said, “It’s not too nerve-wracking because tons of people are new. We are all in the same situation. We just have to work hard.”

According to percussion director Bob Hornsby, they are definitely working hard.  “Band is a good mixture of mental and physical work,” said Hornsby. “At any given time, there are 30 things on the mind.” Not only is the band playing compositions, but they are also responsible for formations and movement.

“It’s 10 minutes of complete concentration,” continued Hornsby. “There’s no time-out. You’re on the whole time.”

At this point in the season, Hornsby said that the staff is stressing health.

“They have to stretch and keep well-hydrated. We do a lot to prevent injuries.”

Once the healthy management of their bodies becomes habitual, the band is well on their way to cleaning their routine, he said.

Yet, as Hornsby added, a show is never perfect.

“We continue to rewrite the show if we get weird reviews. It’s about constant vigilance. A show is never actually done. We just run out of time,” he said.

Through all of the work, Hornsby has confidence in the group.

“We have the chance to tear stuff up this year. We’ll get our names with the big dogs.”