The Fredericktown High School Marching Blackcats invited the community to a preview and Luau, Aug. 17.
This year, the band will be performing a show titled “Blackcats in Bikini Bottom” featuring music from various Spongebob Squarepants episodes and movies. During the preview, the crowd listened to songs such as the “Spongebob Squarepants” Theme Song, and “Goofy Goober Rock” from the Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
As the season continues, the band will add more songs to its show including “Sweet Victory” from the Marching Band Episode and “Best Day Ever” from the Spongebob Squarepants episode of the same title. The band will perform during half-time of every home football game.
During the Aug. 17 preview, the 2023-24 drum majors, senior Ruben Pirtle and sophomore Carter Hale, showcased their skills for the first time this season. Several awards were also given out to participants who went gone above and beyond during this year’s band camp. They were chosen by the drum majors, with the assistance of FHS Band Director Shelby Leo, and a few additional volunteer staff.
The students highlighted included: Loudest Counter Sophie Haferkamp, Best Attitude Valentina Pellegrino, Most Improved Ava Kemp, Best Marcher Nathanael White, and Hardest Worker Kenadie Warden.
Leo said she is very excited for the marching season and hopes to see many familiar faces in the audience.
This is Leo’s second year as band director. She said, now that she has a feel for the community and has made connections, she is ready to grow the program.
“I have a lot of energy, and I feel like that transfers on to the kids, and if I don’t give them the energy, I can’t expect it from them,” Leo said. “I think they are picking it up.”
Leo said the band hosted a preview last year and hopes to continue to grow it bigger and bigger every year. This year, the group added a car show and food trucks.
“Last year, I was new, and nobody knew me,” Leo said. “I didn’t know how to get the word out, but now I’ve kind of created a network and can get that out there.”
Leo said the band will compete in this year’s band contest season. She said, last year was the first time since 1986 that the Fredericktown Marching Blackcats had performed in a contest.
“We went to two competitions last year, one including a clinic,” Leo said. “At our first competition, we took third place, which is incredible.”
Leo said she plans to lead the 30 students on this year’s Marching Blackcats roster and sculpt the program, with plans to improve and grow as the year goes on.
This year’s sponsors include: Make A Joyful Noise Music Studio, Dominos, A Plus Auto Care in St. Louis, First State Community Bank, Neel Construction, Melvin Mills Roofing, Cap America, Beach’d Bum Tanning, New Era Bank, Gifford Lumber, Bess Insurance, Chuck’s Short Stop, BMW Convenience, Black River Electric Cooperative, and Great Southern Bank.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at email@example.com