COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City High School Marching Eagles have been working throughout the summer to prepare for a number of fall performances and competitions.
Helen Hockemeyer, the band’s director, is in her fourth season with the Marching Eagles. She has seen the scope of the band program evolve under her direction.
“We have grown our overall program in the past three years to have two concert bands, a winter color guard, who finished third in the state in their class, a state gold medalist percussion ensemble, two competitive jazz ensembles and various state medaling soloists,” said Hockemeyer. “ When I began here, there was only one concert band, winter guard and percussion.”
To keep the program growing, Hockemeyer, along with a host of parents and supporters, have organized a fundraiser in partnership with Ball Furniture.
Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the hometown furniture store will strike a chord with CC Deli and offer free food as well as 40-50 percent off everything in the store.
The sale will directly benefit the Marching Eagles.
Hockemeyer said, “We are looking forward to partnering with Ball Furniture and the CC Deli to support our local businesses as they have supported us. We keep the majority of our business right here in Columbia City, which includes Gotcha Covered, Murphy Jewelers, Mancino’s, Bugsy’s, and others.”
Students and parents alike are getting excited for the upcoming marching season. Jennifer O’Connor, the band’s booster president said, “The vibe is very excited and nervous. The band has a tough, but incredible show this year. This show is one that is very capable of taking them closer, if not all the way, to state than any other year. They have had to step it up a notch on their skills, show and music this year and are handling it very well.”
In addition to home football games, the marching band will compete in six fall competitions. The first one will be Sept. 8 at Bluffton High School.
Drum Major and senior band member, Foster Eber said, “This season feels different to us than seasons in the past. Everyone really seems to be enjoying themselves, which really makes us want to do our best. The other seniors and I agree that this feels like it will be our best season yet, not only by how well we do, but also by how much fun we are going to have.”
Eber went on to say, “I feel lucky to perform with such a great group of friends and cannot wait for our first competition at Bluffton.”
Other competition dates include Sept. 15 DeKalb Invitational, Sept. 22 East Noble Invitational, Sept. 29 ISSMA District at Homestead High School, Oct. 6 Homestead Fall Festival and Snider Parade of Champions and finally, Oct. 13 ISSMA Regional at Chesterton High school.
According to Hockemeyer, the band’s competition show is themed after the video game and movie, “Final Fantasy.” The show is entitled, “Flight of Fantasy.”
Ashley O’Connor, a member of the marching band said, “ I feel like we have had a great start. It’s like any other activity, it starts out hard, but all of the students put their time and effort into this activity and pushed through it all. I feel great about this year.”
The band is hosting the Second Annual Alumni Invitational at the homecoming game Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. Columbia City will be taking on New Haven and alumni can join in on the music festivities.
Hockemeyer said, “We had a great turnout last year, but would love even more this year.”Alumni can obtain music ahead of time by e-mailing Hockemeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hockemeyer has a group of band assistants to help facilitate rehearsals and lend their particular expertise in different band sections. They include Carolyn Hindbaugh, Luke Holliger, Amy Yadon, Karen Rodenbeck, Chris Hartman, Tommy Cox, Michael Estep and Zach Hupp.
In addition to these assistants, the band is supported by a group of parents that form the Band Booster. They include President Jennifer O’Connor, Vice President Gary Chapple, Treasurers Jeanne Tison and Kirsten Mathews, Secretaries Christine Scroggs and Mary Neher and Band Manager Mark Swain.
For more information on the Ball Furniture band benefit sale, contact the store at 244-5805. Ball Furniture is located in downtown Columbia City.
To learn more about the Marching Eagles, visit www.marchingeagles.net .