Senior Spotlight: The Vanguard of the Marching Dodgers

Ben Colao, Staff Writer

The marching band is an activity unique to most others offered at the Madison High School for a plethora of reasons: one of them being that members aren’t limited to just four years. This has the effect of making each senior’s role and experience that much more crucial to the success of the group as a whole, and makes the impact of their final season that much more potent. Each of the seniors, who make up the Vanguard of the Madison Marching Dodgers, have put in immeasurable time towards making the group successful, and this effort is sincerely appreciated by those who will succeed them. So, let’s take the time to meet and honor each one our beloved members, and hear the personal impact the band has had on them. 

Celeste Arbelaez

Celeste is a 1st year member of the band, and is a part of the colorguard. Being a part of the group this year has been especially rewarding to her for the bonds she has been able to make with people. Moreover, it has taught her to be more responsible, and practice better time management, so as to successfully handle the massive commitment of the band along with her usual coursework. “Marching band has been so fun, and I wish I would’ve done it sooner, but I’m glad I’m doing it in my last year of high school.”

Bethany Bradshaw

Bethany is also a 1st year color guard member, and says she has really enjoyed the time she’s gotten to spend with everyone at practices, games, and competitions. Though she has certainly felt the pressure of the commitment at times, she’s admired the dedication of her fellow members. “This season has meant a lot to me because it has proved how I work with other people, as well as allow me to gain new friends, experiences, and opportunities I would never have had.”

Kavish Arora

Kavish is a 4th year member of the marching band, beginning in his freshman year in the front ensemble. His last 3 years have been spent on the drumline, where he has played base 1 and 2. He has thoroughly enjoyed being on the field and playing the beats, since he says the activity has helped to relieve stress and anxiety, and gives him something to look forward to. 

Kay Chase

Kay is a 4th year member of the band, and for all four years has played the clarinet. This season, she also earned the title of Drum Minor and Field Captain, giving her the responsibility to conduct at football games and generally serve as an example for other members of the band. When asked, Kay said her favorite part is getting to see the growth the band goes through each season and how electric the competitions feel by the end of the season. She says it’s taught her how to be a leader and persevere through adversity – as well as how to walk in a perfectly straight line.

Skye Coen

Skye is also a 4th year member of the band, and has spent all four as a member of the front ensemble. This season, they have risen to the role of center marimba and Captain of the Front Ensemble. For them, marching band has been a creative outlet they have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. It has allowed them to develop their skills as a performer and a leader, and given them greater confidence in their abilities. “I can say without a doubt that without marching band, I would not be the person I am today.”

Benjamin Colao

Hey, that’s me! I’m a 5th year member of the marching band, having started in 8th grade in the front ensemble. Ever since, I’ve been in the drumline, where I’ve been Co and now the sole captain of the drumline (center snare) for my final season. I have spent so much time as a part of this group, and while it has certainly presented its challenges, the countless memories I’ve made are truly priceless. Marching band has given me experiences, allowed me to make friends, and pushed me to improve my skills as a musician and leader to an extent without peer to my other commitments, and I still maintain that – of all the sports I’ve played – there’s nothing more exhilarating than giving a stellar performance of a marching show in front of a crowd. I will truly miss this part of my high school experience.

Sydney Cullis

Sydney is a 4th year member of the marching band, and has spent each as a member of the color guard. She says she has thoroughly enjoyed her experience as part of the colorguard, since it’s given her great opportunities to have fun, perform, and be a part of a team. “This has really meant a lot to me.”

Luke Deane

Luke is another 4th year member of the marching band, and has spent each year as a trombone player. This year, he has also assumed the role and added responsibility of both Drum Minor and Captain of the Hornline. He says he’s greatly enjoyed being a part of the group because of the friends he’s made along the way, and the opportunities it has given him even through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Joshua DeRosa

Josh is a 5th year member of the marching band, beginning in the front ensemble and every other year playing the alto saxophone. “I think the reason I stuck around for 5 years is the people and friendships that band brought me. The band community as a whole is also pretty cool and it’s fun meeting students from other schools and bands.”

Kate McElvany

Kate is a 2-year member of the band; both years she has played the clarinet, and has been a member of the band in both her freshman and senior years. Kate has enjoyed being able to spend copious amounts of time with friends and improving her skills with the clarinet. She expressed her gratitude for the band-parent community as well, noting how the show would not be possible without their support.

Luke Mazza

Luke is a 5th year member of the band, and has played the alto saxophone for all 5 of these seasons. Luke says he’s liked watching people grow during their time in the band, noting for example the rookies this year who have put in serious work. “The best part about band for me has been getting to know the people around me and coming together to accomplish a common goal.”

Alex McEnroe

Alex is technically a first year member of the band, but counting her experience at her past school, she has 5 years of experience. Alex marches the sousaphone, one of the largest and heaviest instruments on the field, and says she has thoroughly enjoyed her time as a part of the activity. “We put in a lot of work into our show, and I think we came a long way.”

Ryan Poole

Ryan is a 5th year member in the band, who for 4 years was a tenor saxophone player before rising to the role of Drum Major in his senior season – a position that involves a myriad of leadership responsibilities, marching the band on and off the field, accepting awards at competitions, and conducting for the group. “I have had so much fun in the band and even though there have been many long weekends, the feeling of coming off a field after a show knowing you just did amazing is unmatched by anything else I’ve ever done.”

Benjamin Preston

Ben, affectionately known as “MADQ,” is a 4th year member of the band. Beginning in the front ensemble, he has since joined the drumline – where he first was in the baseline before finally playing quads for his final two seasons (hence his nickname). Ben has thoroughly enjoyed putting in the work to create a fantastic final show each season, and admires the dedication his fellow members have exhibited in this season, as well as the passion of the staff.  

Saatvik Sharma

Saatvik is a fourth year member of the band and has played 1st trumpet each season. He has particularly enjoyed the community aspect the marching band has provided, as well as the fun memories he has made while traveling to football games and competitions. “Make [what I’m saying] sound nice because you’re a good writer but something like that.”

Jacob Szacillo

Jacob is a 4th year member of the band; beginning in the front ensemble, he has since joined drumline, where he played bass drum for 2 seasons before finally playing snare. “Since I moved schools, the marching band has allowed me to maintain relationships that I started in middle school. I love to perform and the exhilarating feeling that goes along with it.”

Kyle Townsend

Kyle is a 4th year band member, and has played the bass clarinet all four seasons. He has enjoyed his time in the band for all the friends he’s been able to make, as well as the motivation to improve the competitions put on him; in music, and beyond.

Karen Wu

Karen is a 6th year member and the most veteran member of the ensemble. She has spent a number of years in the Front Ensemble, and serves now as a Drum Major. When asked about the band, Karen noted her appreciation for the professional and collaborative culture of the group, and the immense fun she’s had working alongside her fellow members. To her, the program has been no like others, and she forever cherishes the memories she’s made being part of the band.