Behind the Performance (VIDEO)

The progression of the DHS Marching Band

Bursts of noise emanate from the sidelines of the football field as the Decatur High School Marching Band warms up for their first halftime performance of the season. The dance team goes over counts, the trumpet section plays their scales and the drum major practices conducting the score. Suddenly a loud voice yells “Band Ten Hut” and, without even realizing it, they have formed flawless lines and are standing perfectly still, ready to take their marks. As the beat of the metronome fills the field, feet march onto the turf in complete unity. Once in position, they stand alert and ready. At the drop of the first note the adrenaline kicks in and suddenly they are one, marching, playing and dancing together like they have been practicing constantly for the past three months.

It wasn’t always this way.

Five years ago, Megan Williams accepted her job as band director of the Decatur High School Marching Band, and since then, members feel it has been improving leaps and bounds every single year. Almost immediately, Williams decided the band was nowhere near its full potential and needed dramatic changes.

“When I first got here there were not very many drills, the music didn’t have a theme and the shows were very short,” Williams said.

Williams enlisted the help of  friends, one of whom agreed to write the drill for the band and help conduct a more cohesive halftime show. In the years that followed, the band expanded, and Williams compiled a staff of instructors to help with specific sections of the band such as the percussion and auxiliaries. Leadership also went through specific training to be better equipped to run their sections. The drill grew more complex, the music became harder to play and the shows developed into very unified themes. In addition, Williams began to enter the marching band into competitions.

Percussion Instructor Mark Little admires and commends Williams’s transformation of the band.

“The culture of the band had been very different in the music department and certainly the marching band before Ms. Williams became director –  it was a whole other animal,” Little said. “This community and this school should be very thankful for what she brings to the table in my opinion.”

Even though the Decatur High School Marching Band has improved dramatically, Williams still sees the possibility for future improvement and is challenging the band in more ways this year.

“We are going to two competitions this year, which is pretty typical for us, but the competition there is going to definitely be more fierce than it has been in the other competitions we have attended,” Williams said.

The marching band’s show this year is entitled “Among the Stars” and is set to a compilation of songs that have to do with the galaxy.

“The marching band has become super amazing and I am really excited for the show we are doing this year,” Little said. “The show has several different pieces of music, some from the classical world, some from the pop world and they all bleed in and out of each other. It is going to be amazing.”