The last time the Blue Devils had a real marching season was 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.
After the 2019 school year, former director Chris Jenkins retired and was replaced by Vince Genualdi as the director of Symphonic Band II and the Marching Blue Devils. Mr. Genualdi attended University of Illinois and participated in their marching band. He also has extensive experience judging marching band competitions.
Several members of the band were asked questions about the show, rehearsals, and future performances. When asked how they thought the performance at the competition would go, everyone was consistently happy with the outcome. Faith Cabalfin, a senior who plays marimba, said “I was nervous for the whole band, and was happy after the show”.
Jake Snyder, a senior tuba player, said “I kind of thought it would go average, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got third place”. The interviewees were then asked about the preparation of the show. Answers consistently showed that there are improvements that can be made to improve the show. Jackson Cole, Senior trombone player, said “We practice well, but there are definitely things that we could have done better”. Jeanette Johnson, the director of the color guard was interviewed over email, and wrote “We are beginning to be more efficient as we rehearse and I think the scores/placement at the competition on Saturday reflected that. I do believe there is still a lot of growth that is needed for the remainder of the season, so rehearsals should continue to improve in terms of focus and taking direction”. The next question was about Mr. Genualdi and his work as the new director. Opinions were mixed, but it is impossible to deny the great results he consistently gets when the band performs. Saxophonist Mia Bornhorst said “He has a lot to live up to, but at the same time, people’s expectations were set almost too high. He’s coming in at a very difficult time. We’re all coming out of a year without marching band, and he has to learn everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, all while directing a very complicated marching band show”. Her answer perfectly encapsulates the opinions that the band and all of its members have.