Saline Marching Band Honors The Senior Class

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The Saline Marching Band program honored its seniors during a performance at Hornet Stadium Thursday evening.

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The band performed its pre-game routine and the half-time show for appreciative parents. But in the middle of the show, the marching band seniors were introduced as they stood alongside their proud parents.

It was a special night for members of a band that didn't know if they would play together. Now, depending on how the football team does, they could have several upcoming performances. 

Alaina Dorset is the senior drum major. She remembers receiving word that she'd been named drum major.

"I was at work when I first found out. I screamed and my co-workers something had happened. I was super excited. I was so happy," Dorset said.

At the same time, Dorset found out about her leadership role during the summer. She knew the COVID-19 pandemic had ended the school year prematurely, and didn't know what she might be able to expect about the return to school.

"I was crushed (at the thought of not having a marching band season). But I realized just being elected to this position was a huge honor anyway. I was very grateful," Dorset said.

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John Lancaster is the section leader for the band's drumline. Like Dorset, he aspired to the leadership role.

"I've wanted to be section leader since my freshman year, so getting the opportunity to be here was incredible," Lancaster said. "But I was worried for a very long time I would not even get to play with all my peers."

Gradually, plans for returning to school came together. Director Nate Lampman researched ways for the students to play in masks and find masks for their instruments. He also developed a routine that required students to stay socially-distanced. 

Perhaps more than any other year, Band Director Nate Lampman needed his seniors to step up and lead.

And they did. Lampman said he was incredibly proud of the senior class.

"They've had so many things to overcome," Lampman said. "They were leaders, right from the first day. They embraced the challenge. We rely so much on them to teach in marching band and they were incredible teachers. Their attitude and positivity were contagious. They did their job so well and I could not be more proud of them."

Lancaster took the leadership role seriously. He wanted to be a role model for the younger members of the drumline.

"Being a section leader is being a representation of what I want the next years to be," Lancaster said. "Seeing all the juniors who will be seniors next year, being the person they can look to, I want to be like that."

The band went to work and a couple of weeks ago, despite having nowhere near as much preparation as normal, they performed for an audience for the first time.

"It was so real. I was panicking, because, you know, first performance jitters. But, I realized, I get so few of these, so I should just enjoy it as I go along," Dorset said.

Lancaster was thrilled to have the opportunity.

"I was worried we wouldn't be able to play, so to be here is incredible," he said.

Last week, the marching band returned to play under the Friday night lights. There were 1,000 tickets sold for the game. Along with the band and the football players, the game had cheerleaders and a dance team.

Nobody was happier to be back under the Friday night lights more than Lancaster.

"That was the greatest Friday night football game of my life. Being center snare made it special to me - but after not being able to perform like that in over a year? It was mind-blowing," Lancaster said.

Now, despite the masks and challenges and changes and lack of prep time, things for the band kind of seem like they're getting back to normal. 

"I think this season has been pretty great so far for the circumstances we've had. Mr. Lampman did a great job of pulling strings and getting a season for all of us, including us seniors, and I couldn't be more grateful," Dorset said.

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