Medina Marching Band embraces ‘Together Again’ in return to competition

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 August 2021 at 8:07 am

Last year’s season was cancelled due to Covid restrictions

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Medina Marching Band is in action Thursday evening during a performance for parents and the community as part of this week’s band camp.

The band’s show this year is “Together Again.” Last year’s season was cancelled statewide. Medina is the defending state champion in the small school division. It won the Small Schools 1 Division at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Oct. 27, 2019.

This year will be Medina’s 54th season competing as a marching band. There are 55 schools in the program and Medina is the fourth smallest school, said Jim Steele, Medina’s marching band director for 30 years.

Jim Steele, Medina’s band director, said he looks forward to the upcoming season. He said the band is in a rebuilding effort, especially with the younger grade levels.

This year the numbers are down in Medina to 87 students in the band in grades 7-12. Steele said the group typically has at least 105 students. Statewide the marching band numbers dropped with the pandemic wiping out a season and also making it difficult to run a normal band program with social distancing at 12 feet for bands most of last school year, and many students going to remote education.

Band camp returned this week with students at the school outside from 1 to 9 p.m. They will be back today from 1 to 5 p.m. Students received the music months ago and have been learning the notes on their own this summer. With band camp, they learn the marching formations and to play while on the move.

The season’s first competition will be Sept. 18 in Hilton. Medina hosts its Fall Festival of Bands show on Sept. 25.

The band goes over its program on Thursday evening. Kaylee Lacey, up high, is drum major this season.

Other band leaders include TJ Burgess and Megan Zakes as assistant drum majors; Jaxon Phillips (head of percussion); Color Guard captains, Gabby Flores Medina and Aries McMurray; Color Guard managers, Ava Chambers and Madison Owens; Trombone, Julio Doval; Front end ensemble (pit), Mia Hobbs and Paige Dix; Trumpet, TJ Burgess and Ben Griffin; Mellos, Seagan Majchrzak; Saxophone, Megan Zakes; Clarinets, Gracelin Mahnke; Flutes, Dakota Alexander and Emma Wagner; Uniform managers, Regan Timmer and Victoria Potter; and 6 band managers, Phallon Rivera, Bailey Clare,  Kayleigh Wright, Henry Rigerman, Gabe Mark and Lillian Wilson.

Steele said he appreciates the “amazing” support of the Medina community for the band and the dedication of the students.

He is hopeful there won’t be any disruptions to the season.

“I told the students to just enjoy the moment,” he said. “We’re hoping we can get through the season without any hiccups.”

Steele hugs Jeff Pask who is stepping down from working as the drum instructor for the band the past 12 years. Pask wants to spend more time with his grandkids. Steele said Pask is always welcome back, even if its just to ride the bus with the band.