The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

NCMB takes their final bow with “Monarch,” at the Old Southeastern Invitational

Jon Swope
November 4, the NC marching band (NCMB) performed their 2023 program, “Monarch,” for the final time this competition season. The band placed second in Open Class and received several other accolades such as first place drum majors, first place color guard and second place percussion for the open classification. Although the NCMB experienced various challenges and changes throughout their season, they ended their run with an unforgettable performance fit for any king or queen.

Similarly to monarch butterflies that symbolize transformation and grace, the NC Marching Band (NCMB) experienced a dramatic metamorphosis during their 2023 season. With the arrival of veteran band director David Wiebers and a significant influx of freshman marchers into the ensemble, the NCMB witnessed a transformation that paved the way for a new era of curiosity and learning within the band. After a season decorated by music exercises, sweat and hundreds of resets, the band’s thrilling competitive run drew to a close November 4 at the Newnan High School Old Southeastern Invitational. The NCMB placed fourth overall in the competition and received the highest marks for both the drum majors and color guard that evening. From where the band started in April to where they finished in November, the feats accomplished at the Invitational truly cemented the season as one to remember. 

NCMB’s competitive program, “Monarch,” seamlessly blended royalty and butterflies together to create a visually elegant and musically engaging program. The show featured several hit songs to help capture the theme’s essence: “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen, “Queen of the Night’s Aria” from Wolfgang Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay and “Kings and Queens” by Ava Max. Within the show’s three acts, each song helped convey the dramatic yet intentional vibe of each performance.

 Both the band and color guard shined with several soloists and ensembles adding hints of brilliance to different sections of the show. Magnet senior and color guard Co-Captain Natalie Salomón opened the show with a dance feature, leading her to a medley of brass players on the stage that performed the show’s introduction. As Act 1 progressed, senior clarinetist Gina Zheng artfully played a solo to “Queen of the Night’s Aria” as the color guard spun rifles around the stage. Senior trumpet player Seth Phillips and sophomore mellophone Eric Chastain performed a duet in Act 2 as a trio of dancers leaped circles near the two horn players.

 Act 3 featured four trombonists executing a triumphant intro to the closing part of the program. As the closer progressed, the NCMB’s trumpets stepped forward to sharply deliver their feature while the color guard’s weapon line tossed and turned near the 50-yard line. To help conclude the show, magnet sophomore and color guard member Nadia Guthrie gracefully danced through the band and captivated the audience until the final note played. All of the showcased performers contributed to the beauty of “Monarch,” highlighting the talent within the NCMB. 

“I adore our ballad, particularly our woodwind choir, into our mallet percussion moment before the big hit. The scene is intimate – our color guard executes a captivating sequence of choreography that gives me goosebumps every performance. The music writing follows our brass soloists, with starry melodies handed over to our Front Ensemble. It’s a break for me—a time where I can sit back from intense tempo control and let our show’s beauty do the talking,” senior Drum Major Miguel Flores-Padilla said.

Bands from both Georgia and Alabama arrived at the Invitational to showcase all of their diligent work from their respective seasons, which created a supportive and encouraging environment for every school that graced Drake Stadium. Amid the cold winds that swarmed around Newnan High School November 4, the NCMB charmingly performed “Monarch,” to a crowd of fellow competing bands and loving family members. Quickly thereafter, the ensemble rushed to the stands to watch the Newnan High School Marching Band execute their exhibition show titled “Nirvana Jazz.” Afterward, leadership members traveled down to the 15-yard line to await the results of the competition.

The Newnan Invitational featured bands across four classifications: Class 1A, 2A, 3A and Open Class. The judges used a grading scale that ranges from superior, excellent, good, fair and poor across drum majors, color guard, dance lines, majorettes and percussion. Ola High School Marching Band and NC stood as the only two schools waiting to hear the results for the open classification, and both ensembles received superior ratings across all categories, further intensifying anxieties between the two bands. As the NCMB leadership members shivered in wait, they cheered on each band as they received their medals and accolades. Then, the awards for the open class awards began.

The drum majors placed first in their category with a gracious 193.00 points, which makes this the third first-place trophy the senior drum majors Flores-Padilla, Lucas Folino and Ian Lilly have received during the 2023 season. For the first time this season, the color guard placed first in their category with a score of 191.00. The pit and drumline received a score of 183.00, which led them to a second-place finish in the percussion category. Overall, NCMB settled with a second-place finish in the open classification, which resulted in them ending the competition for fourth place overall in the entire competition. The drum majors and color guard received the highest scores for their categories across all bands.

“Holding the trophy for first place guard with my fellow captains holds a special place in my heart because it shows our hard work and dedication. Personally, my run went amazing and I caught all my tosses on flag, Sabre, and rifle. As a color guard, we spun together really well because of the numerous practices we participate in that strengthen our choreography, as well as teamwork,” junior color guard Co-Captain Kaydence Malcom said.

The Newnan Invitational served as the final competitive performance for the NCMB’s 2023 season. In October, the NCMB competed at “The Conquest” hosted at Allatoona High School, as well as the Kennesaw Mountain Marching Invitational at Kennesaw Mountain High School. The band also participated at the Cobb Exhibition at McEachern High School, where ensembles all over Cobb County showcased their unyielding work from their respective seasons. After the Newnan Competition, the band plans on supporting the NC football team by playing stand tunes at their first playoff game November 10. 

All in all, the NCMB experienced a transformative season. From each performance becoming better than the last to finally nailing the intricate details in a particular part of the show, the band should feel a sense of pride for all they have accomplished this year. The Chant congratulates the 2023 NCMB on a fantastic run of “Monarch,” and excitedly awaits to see what magic the band will create in future seasons. 


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Ciara Whimbush
Ciara Whimbush, Copy Editor
One fateful day in 2013, Ciara Whimbush wrote a story about two girls visiting a witch’s house in the woods. Throughout the process, she stumbled across the thing that made her feel the most like herself: writing. As Whimbush embarks on her junior year as a member of NC’s magnet program, she aims to continue to expand her view of the world through a journalistic lens. As a newly minted editor, Whimbush excitedly looks upon this new school year to hone her craft and build upon her new discipline. She holds the field of social studies in high regard, as she actively participates in NC’s Model UN club, as well as HiStory Retold, an organization that seeks to diversify curriculums across classrooms. Aside from typing away on her keyboard, her other interests include spinning her flag and rifle on the NC Color Guard, baking sweets, making Dad jokes, taking pictures of the sky and indulging in various video essays riddled on YouTube. During her second year at The Chant, Whimbush hopes to become a better writer, an impactful editor and a citizen of the world; whether it be with interviews, articles, or exploring out of her comfort zone. Her main goal surrounds making her first-grade self proud of how far she has come.       

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