North Cobb Marching Band dances through Orlando


courtesy of Natalia Ontiveros

The NC marching band participated in the Bands of America Orlando Regional competition Saturday, October 22. The band performed their show, “Kokopelli Dances,” for an eager audience of judges, family members and other bands from around the region. In the photo, the band steps into their pre-show set, which features a solo by magnet senior Jasmine Negron.

Ciara Whimbush, Reporter

The NC marching band (NCMB) ended their competition season the weekend of October 22, when they performed this year’s program, “Kokopelli Dances,” at the Bands of America Orlando Regional Championship (BOA). The season began in April of the 2021-2022 school year, meshing members young and old together to create the program. During the summer band camp, students worked hard to bring life to the music and choreography taught to them, while simultaneously creating bonds with one another. The band performed their show at Cobb Exhibition and the Northwest Georgia Marching Band Championship in the weeks prior to traveling to Florida. Between the rush of competing and the fun trip to Universal, the NC band found the magic under the Sunshine State’s heat. 

 BOA represented the end of the season, as well as the end of an era for several students. During the weeks leading up to the competition, the marchers expressed feelings of nervousness and excitement. For numerous members, the weekend graced them with their first time at BOA. NC’s recent appearance at this particular competition dates back to 2018. The Orlando Regional belongs to a greater group of BOA competitions happening around the country, in cities such as Indianapolis, Winston-Salem and St. Louis.

“I was super excited and confident that our band had prepared as well as we could for such a big performance. I knew it would be an interesting experience, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was still super excited,” magnet senior Addie Quintana said.

With music by Erik Morales, Joel McNeely and Satoshi Yagisawa, the band transported audiences into a whimsical, playful and at times suspenseful storyline, with beautiful visuals and choreography to boot. The story of the Kokopelli stems from Southwest Native Americans, with ties to the Zunis, Hopis, Aztecs and other indigenous peoples, where the humpbacked flute player holds a reputation as mischievous and fun. Using his flute, he spreads joy to villages through music and dancing, and the Aztecs viewed him as a symbol of fertility.

To help convey this theme, magnet senior Jasmine Negron and senior Madeline Shell performed flute solos throughout the program, a motif associated with Kokopelli. Negron and Shell also play in NC’s Wind Symphony, with Shell also a member of the marching band’s front ensemble. Other soloists included senior mellophone Gabe Adams, junior trumpet Seth Phillips, senior saxophone Joe Cannizzaro and senior vocalist Alyssa Smith. 

The organization of the BOA competition falls into two rounds:; the first preliminary round, when all bands that signed up compete, and the finals round, where the top-scoring bands from the prelims compete again to potentially win the competition. In the preliminary round, NCMB received scores of 14.825 in music performance, 13.900 in visual performance and 44.700 in general effect. Overall, the NCMB received an overall score of 73.425, resulting in a 14th-place finish out of 28 bands. Despite this, the band fell short of the top 12 bands and unfortunately did not proceed to the finals round. The results sent feelings of disappointment and sadness throughout the band but also left people instilled with the assertiveness that they put their best foot forward.

“I took a lot of time reflecting on the results, and nonetheless it was very expected. The show was amazing! Tons of people enjoyed it. The results were disappointing and left me upset with myself. But scores don’t define us. I know deep in my heart I performed the show of my life,” senior Andrea Meneses Calderón said

Even though the band did not compete in the finals, students, staff and parents savored a magical day at Universal Studios Orlando October 23. Students relished in rides and treats from their favorite fantasy worlds, such as Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and CityWalk. The park also houses several entertaining and nostalgic attractions, such as the Hogwarts Express, Revenge of the Mummy and E.T Adventure.
“Universal was incredible. As a theme park enthusiast, I was like a little kid in a candy store. The park was so immersive, and the structure of how everything worked was really smooth, it was an experience with no bumps in the road. My favorite part was riding the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride. I had no idea what it was and would’ve never expected to be screaming with my hands over my eyes as a dementor popped up in front of my face. It was absolutely terrifying but so funny at the same time,” senior Emma Kleine said.

The NCMB spent an exciting and lively weekend soaking up the sun in Orlando. Even though the band did not take home a trophy, they left with a plethora of memories, stories and passion for seasons to come.

The band will perform the story of “Kokopelli” one last time at their final community performance October 30 at NC’s stadium. As they wrap up the competitive season, the band will continue to play at football games throughout the playoffs. 

Congratulations to the 2022 NCMB on a wonderful competitive season!