Brandon Hager sits down with Wyatt Roberds

Brandon Hager, Staff Writer

             The 2017 Granite City High School marching season is in full swing and so far the Marching Warriors are off to an awesome start! Last week, I was given the opportunity to sit down with the band director here at GCHS, Mr. Wyatt Roberds, and have a face-to-face Q&A about this year’s show and a few other topics regarding the Marching Warriors.

      Q. Can you tell everybody about the 2017 Marching Warriors program?

   A. Sure! The program’s called “Imagine”. Music is “Pure Imagination”. It’s pretty new for us just because we’ve added bikes to the mix for props, We’ve got kids riding bikes all over the place. Little did I know, kids don’t ride bikes anymore, so that’s been a challenge, but they’re getting it.

   Q. What was the reasoning behind the whole Willy Wonka / Pure Imagination Theme? What led you to come up with that?

   A. Uh…I like chocolate! I like chocolate, I’ve always loved the piece of music, that song. We did a Willy Wonka show here back twenty-something years ago, but it wasn’t quite the way I wanted it arranged. I was the assistant back then so, I thought I’d do it the way I wanted to do it, throw it through some different styles.

   Q. With 2 out of 5 competitions out of the way, how has the band been performing so far, and do you feel that the band is in a good position to have a successful season?

   A. I do. They had a really successful first competition taking 2nd at O’fallon. They should have placed higher at Edwardsville, but we had a couple uniform malfunctions where the gauntlets were too loose for percussion which their sticks got caught on the gauntlets and then they couldn’t play in time which led to an epic fail, but we still took 4th overall, 3rd in music, even with an epic fail, you know? So yeah, I’d say we’re way ahead of where we normally are. This Saturday, they should just be on fire.

* Note: this interview took place before that Saturday at McKendree University, where the band received caption awards in best music, general effect, and percussion, 1st place class 6A, and Grand Champion of the event*

   Q. How much has the band improved since the first performance back in August?

   A. It’s great! They keep cleaning every week, keep adding dynamics, and they seem to be getting more in character for the show. More of a light hearted, little child-like comedy.

   Q. Was having bikes in the show a major concern for you at the beginning of the season? If so, are they still?

   A. It was, just because I wasn’t sure if the kids would be able to do it because we have the bikes criss-cross in there, which is pretty hard. I didn’t realize that the bikes we had first would break so much, so we’ve had to swap bikes out to get a little bit tougher bikes, and then teach kids how to ride bikes, so, you know? But yeah, now I’m not worried about it at all. They’ve got their timing down and it’s good, it’s fine.

   Q. Do you plan on attending more competitions in the future?

   A. I don’t know. We’ll probably hang right where we are for the moment. We do six competitions right now. That’s about the same as everybody around us, unless you’re a big BOA band that’s got a $250,000 budget, they go to eight. We just can’t afford that right now, but someday! If we win the lottery, why not?

   Q. Why do you have so much chocolate in your desk?

   A. Because chocolate is life’s blood. Chocolate makes the world go round, and it saves kids lives, ya know? You have a bad day, pop some chocolate, kids live longer.

   Q. With the whole controversy of is band a sport? Is band not a sport? What is your opinion on whether band is or is not a sport?

   A. I say it’s hard to compare activities like this, ya know what I mean? I’d say it’s more than a sport. We don’t really necessarily have anybody competing against us to make us mess up, but it’s every much a sport as say, diving, gymnastics, cheerleading, and any of those kinds of things. They’re all the same. It’s people putting out an awful lot of hard work, trying to come to a common goal and ultimately you’re given a score on it. I say if you’re given a score, sure, let’s call it a sport. Would you say it’s a competitive sport? Eh, I don’t know. I don’t see why everybody’s getting so wrapped up in the “Is it a sport or is it not”. I’d say, is it cool and is it worth your time and for me, yes. I don’t care what anybody else thinks, ya know? I like what we do and I think we do a great job of it.