This past weekend, the members of the Spirit of Woodlan gathered with family and friends at the annual Band Banquet on Sunday, November 12th. The banquet gives everyone the opportunity to reflect on the season, share a meal together, and celebrate the members of the senior class. When the band has the opportunity to compete in State Finals, it has become tradition for the band to eat dinner afterwards at the Golden Corral on their drive back home. At Golden Corral, the seniors use that opportunity to give a speech to their peers as they conclude their season. This has become a treasured tradition. This season, as the band did not advance to State Finals, this tradition was altered. After the Semi-State competition, most everyone was tearful and devastated by the news and many of the seniors were not prepared to give a speech to their peers at dinner at CiCi’s. In addition, CiCi’s was staying open late for us, so we didn’t have the adequate time for 12 seniors to give speeches that night. Mr. Slattery proposed the idea for all the students to come early to the banquet so the seniors could give their speeches to their peers, and that worked out nicely.
The students gathered in the conference room off the choir room at 5pm. Most of the members of the senior class took that opportunity to talk to their peers, many offering thanks, reminiscing about some of their favorite band memories, and giving advice to their younger bandmates. Many of the speeches brought tears to the students, as well as to the parents watching in the back. One of the resounding themes was the sense of family that the students felt and that it was going to be difficult for the seniors and the underclassmen alike to say goodbye. Most of the seniors described their love for their marching band family and all the wonderful memories they made together. Caitlyn Walter presented all of the seniors with cards signed by their bandmates.
After the senior speeches concluded, the students moved to the auditeria for the banquet. Brandi Walter welcomed everyone and John Crilly said a prayer before the meal. The staff and seniors lined up for dinner first, followed by the students according to grade, ending with the families gathered to share this evening. Dinner was a line-up of tacos and toppings from Salsa Grille along with chocolate and white cakes. The students enjoyed watching highlights of the season and a senior tribute on the slideshow while they ate.
Brandi Walter welcomed everyone to the banquet.
John Crilly said the prayer before the meal.
The Booster Board: Jason Harber, Sarah Harber, Sarah Benz, Brandi Walter, Jeff Walter
Nathan Spellman and Cody Groves
After the meal, the program began. Sarah Benz and Jason Harber introduced the staff and gave an overview of the season and the show. Three brave seniors (Emmy Bice, Braedon Miller, and Katy Gilbert) and one who didn’t realize what he had agreed to do (looking at you, Joe Coomer!) gave a senior speech to the community. Next, Darlene Miller, Amy Crilly, and I gave senior parent speeches. Amy Crilly used her opportunity to do something she had never got to do before in all of her years in band (because she was always working on the pit crew), and that was to lead the Spirit of Woodlan Cheer. After the cheer, the seniors were all given senior awards and received their gift bags. Jason Harber introduced the Marvin and Apryl Hoot Memorial Award for Spirit and welcomed Apryl Hoot to present the award. Apryl was proud to present the Hoot Award for Spirit to Braedon Miller, who was chosen as the member of the senior class that most embodies the Spirit of Woodlan (through dedication, perseverance, kindness & encouragement, and leadership). Brandi Walter introduced and thanked all of the many helpers who have contributed to making this season happen, including everyone who worked concession stands, donated and helped make food for the band, worked on sewing, cleaning, or sorting uniforms, chaperoned the buses, helped with fundraisers, drove the semi, decorated the band room, and served on the pit crew. She also highlighted Cory VanHorn, a senior and former band member that has volunteered this season on the pit crew. Mr. Slattery concluded the program by offering words of advice to the seniors as well as the students who will return next year. Students were encouraged to take their season paddles home with them.
Jason Harber giving an introduction to the season.
Sarah Benz discussed the highlights of the fundraising efforts and thanked the community for helping the band get the new semi-trailer this year.
Emmy Bice giving her senior speech
Joe Coomer didn't realize what he was signing up for, but he gave a great senior speech anyhow!
Braedon Miller giving his senior speech
Katy Gilbert giving her senior speech
Darlene Miller gave a senior parent speech
I also took a turn at a senior parent speech
Amy Crilly leading the Spirit of Woodlan Cheer during her senior parent speech
The Senior Most Likely to be Found Crying Over Literally Anything... Katy Gilbert
The Senior Most Likely To Be A DCI Member... Ean Schindler
The Senior Most Likely To Make You Laugh Until Your Stomach Hurts... Bella Harber
The Senior Most Likely To Be Early To Practice... Braedon Miller
The Senior Most Likely To Be Late To Practice... Delaney Crilly
The Senior Most Likely To Forget To Pack The Right Clothes For a Trip (Like Black Socks!)... Joe Coomer
The Senior Most Likely To Break Their Instrument... Rogan Thiele
The Senior Most Likely To Be Found Playing Their Instrument In A NYC Subway For Money... Alex Raby
The Senior Most Likely To Be a Professional Ninja Player... Josiah Thomas
The Senior Most Likely To Be A Mr. Slattery Stan... Darren Bermes
The Senior Most Likely To Win A "Worst Band Camp Tan Lines Competition"... Ava McAlexander
And The Oscar Goes To Award for Being The Best Actor/ Most Dramatic ... Emmy Bice
The Senior Class of 2024
Jason Harber introducing Apryl Hoot and the Marvin & April Hoot Memorial Award for Spirit
Apryl Hoot presenting Braedon Miller with the Hoot Award for Spirit
Brandi Walter thanking the numerous volunteers for all of their contributions.
Cory VanHorn, who was recognized for being a senior member of the pit crew.
Mr. Slattery giving his closing remarks
After the banquet, the seniors took pictures together and opened their gifts. They all decided to go outside together and release the balloons that were tied to their gift bags as a final farewell to their marching band careers.
The band banquet was a great way to celebrate and conclude the 2023 marching band season. Many of these talented students will enjoy just a few weeks of downtime before they put their efforts into the upcoming seasons of Winter Guard and Winter Winds. Many of them have already begun the new seasons of Jazz Band and Pep Band as well. It’s incredible to watch all of these talented students share their love of music in so many fantastic ways! Stay tuned for updates about all the great things they do next!