FHC band continues to succeed under new band director


FHC Band will prevail to the students within.

Regardless of budget cuts, stereotypes, or a continuous flow of new directors, the music that cascades out of trumpets, oboes, and flutes will live on.

This is not because of a supportive student section or outlying support swarming down Hall Street. This is because of the love that surrounds the community itself. The love for music that each member of the band contributes to each time they play a note.

However, these notes do not come naturally. Each piece the band plays is carefully practiced countless times in order to put on a show for each attendee of every football game. In order for this to be accomplished, each member of the band has to be there for one another. Junior Zoey Guikema feels this every day.

“Band is a place where you can be yourself and make friends with [people with] the same interests as you,” Zoey said. “I can count on people in band to be uplifting and positive about any situation.”

For the past three years, Rob Ash held the title as band director, meaning everyone in the band had only played under his instruction– until this year. Under him, traditions arose and bonds were formed, causing the whole band to fall in love with his quirky tactics and unconventional ways of teaching.

Senior Makayla Erdman had a bit of trouble adjusting at first.

“It’s crazy how attached you get to a phrase or a way of saying things that when someone says or does something differently, even if it means the same thing, it feels off,” Makayla said.

Laura Zilhaver filled Ash’s position this year, bringing new tactics to the table. Especially during band camp- a vital piece in building the halftime show- her new ideas were refreshing. Senior Cece Long noticed the difference between Ash’s training and Zilhaver’s.

“I believe that Mr. Ash got us ready to progress forward, giving us the basics and the tools we need to improve,” Cece said. “I think that Ms. Z is going to help us use the tools Mr. Ash gave us and get us to become our very best.”

After spending time with Zilhaver, Mayakla agrees.

“She’s a fast learner and cares a lot about where we go, not only as a band but as a family,” Makayla said.

A majority of the band’s halftime show is learned at band camp, which takes place during the end of the summer. To members of the band, band camp is a vital part of the show and sets the tone for the rest of the year.

However, a new director means a new band camp.

“Right off the bat, we saw that Ms. Z was ready to throw down and get to work. She was all business,” Cece said. “But she knew what she was talking about. We got 99% of the drill to music during band camp. That was never done with Mr. Ash, and we had met our goal [this year].”

Both Ash and Zilhaver have put in countless hours in making the band thrive, and CeCe looks forward to their potential this year.

“I think this new year, new leadership, and the new director is going to take this band program to extraordinary heights,” Cece said.