Two days later, the band traveled to the 32nd Grand Ledge Marching Exhibition for the fourth time. This event is by invitation only. Nineteen bands from around the state performed and received feedback from esteemed judges who come with decades of experience in teaching, conducting, drill writing and performing. While it’s not a competition in which the bands are graded like MSBOA, the personal comments from the judges are very helpful for both the band directors and the students as they sharpen their performance skills, according to Cousineau.
“After we’re done performing, the band goes to a side field and at least one judge talks to us so we have immediate, specific information to take back,” he explained. “We’re there with bands small and large, all of whom are considered to be very good performers. But there’s always room for improvement.”
The highlight of the evening is when the Spartan Marching Band performs its pregame and half-time shows for all the spectators. There is almost electricity in the air as the students from the various bands watch them do their drills and play their music with such precision, according to Cousineau, who is himself an SMB Alumnus. During its show, SMB has alumni from the bands who’ve participated in the exhibition line up and be recognized.
“Our students get to see their former classmates and realize how a high school band experience can pay off. They also learn how much hard work it is,” Cousineau said.
Friday night was senior night, with 25 students and their parents recognized.
“We’ll miss our seniors. They are our leaders. It’s always my hope that they’ll take something from their band experience and use it for future success,” said Cousineau.