Soaring Pride Band to march ‘Winter Solstice’


Sarah Nease

The band plays during the Friday pep rally before the game against Borger.

After an award-winning 2014 season, the Soaring Pride Band is hitting the marching field once again with their brand new show, “Winter Solstice.”

The show presents a musical adaptation which mixes both classic and contemporary works, including “Ballet No. 4,” by Shostakovich, “The Nutcracker,” by Tchaikovsky, “Troika,” by Prokofiev, “Where Morning Dawns, Where Evening Fades,” by the band’s own Eric Rath and concludes with “Slalom,” by Carter Pann.

“The show starts with a very dark piece, which kind of depicts shorter and cloudier days, and even the emotion and time in your life that is winter, the time when things come to an end and die off in nature,” head band director Mike Sheffield said. “Then we go to a little more of a sleigh ride, which is fun. Next, we go to ‘When Morning Dawns and Evening Fades,’ which is like standing outside when it’s snowing. It’s very quiet and you can hear the snow falling, which is very peaceful. Finally we get to Slalom at the end which is like skiing down a mountain with your hair on fire.”

This year, the Soaring Pride Band aims to qualify for the UIL State Marching Contest.

“For this show, we wanted to do something very exciting,” Sheffield said. “However, the whole state and non-state thing didn’t really play into our decision of choosing this show. We just wanted a fun show that the audience would identify with and that the students would enjoy. We have been working with Eric Rath, our arranger and fellow band director. We toyed around with several ideas, and he found Slalom, which is a piece that we all liked, and he just decided that would be the spark that would start putting the show together.”

Throughout the band, there are various leaders – drum majors, loading crew, color guard, and Sheffield’s handpicked 2015 Leadership Team. Many of these leaders said that they have learned invaluable life lessons from the Canyon Band Program that they will never forget. Some of these students are planning to turn an interest in music into a college major and professional career.

“I think that true leadership is somewhere between kindness and intensity or what some people would call being mean, because I don’t want to simply avoid confrontation, but I also don’t want to be mean,” drum captain Ryan Sheffield said. “That’s what makes me believe that leadership is being assertive.”

The band is not led by a director during marching season, but by student drum majors selected through a competitive audition process.  Maddy Edwards, Berkley Trumbly and Izzy Wheeler will lead the band as drum majors this season.

I think our message to the audience will be that marching band, like all things, is progressive.”

— Mike Sheffield

“The band is working really hard this year, especially at the March-a-thon, when we all made it through marching the ten miles and we pushed to the end,” Wheeler said. “I just really want to inspire the band to be the best that we can be and really want for us to be able to go to state.”

The band will  premiere part of their show at the first football game on Aug. 28.  The game will commence at 7 p.m., and the band will  perform during the halftime show.

“I think our message to the audience will be that marching band, like all things, is progressive – just like cellphones, and just like athletics,” Sheffield said. “Marching band has become much more athletic, progressive, and technologically savvy. It can be really entertaining while still educating the students. I love getting to see the students go perform and feel good about it. That seems pretty simplistic, but it’s a pretty big payday for me. It’s a lot of work for a ten or eleven minute show, but the emotion that comes off the students once we reach our desired level is something that you can’t buy. It’s pretty fantastic.”