Marching Bulls show music put to the test

The Marching Bulls receive a Superior at their MPA performance.

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Janine Ali

Before every competition, the Bulls get time to work on their music one last time before their musical assessment.

After the roaring success the marching band had at their previous competitions, the next endeavor they had to face was MPA. MPA stands for Music Performance Assessment and is essential for the musical aspect of the marching show. The band once again received a Superior, the highest overall rating, after performing their show in front of a panel of judges. MPA this year was held Nov. 5 at Pasco High School in Dade City, Florida.

The band has many people on their staff whose jobs involve improving and critiquing all things music. One of which is Richard Wohl. At almost every rehearsal, Wohl shows up in order to get the music where it needs to be to receive high scores at competitions, or in this case, MPA.

“Just the experience of performing at MPA helps the students to become more comfortable and confident on the field,” Wohl explains. “The band also makes use of the comments made from their judges’ recording. They offer helpful criticism which guides the students in fixing their errors.”

The Marching Bulls walking to their MPA, mentally preparing for the performance ahead. (Janine Ali)

The band takes the criticism very seriously, as it helps them to know what to work on going into future shows. The panel of judges records their feedback whilst watching the show and then proceed to send it to the band directors of the school that performs. This is not only helpful to the staff of the marching band, but also the students. Some of the recordings are played for the students during practices, so they can hear the feedback given by a judge. Senior Claire Macchiarola explains her take on the feedback the band acquired after MPA.

“The feedback from MPA was overall very positive,” Macchiarola states. “My favorite piece of feedback was that the demand placed on students for the show was ‘through the roof’. It felt nice to be recognized for all our hard work.”

The senior then goes on to explain how the feedback helps the band to understand what is needed in order to execute it correctly.

The MPA scoring also has many different levels to it which factors into what the band needs to work on: Poor, fair, good, excellent, and superior. Although they did receive a superior rating, this doesn’t mean the Marching Bulls had nothing left to work on in their show. Band director Garret Clifford explains what is next for the marching season going into finals.

“The band always gets better, and in my opinion, our performance at MPA was one of our best performances and receiving a superior rating overall shows that the judges agreed with that,” Clifford explained. “It helped to motivate our students to work even harder than they already do.”

The rating gave the band the confidence boost needed and a renewed focus as they head into finals, and showed them that their hard work is definitely paying off. As Clifford stated, it gave them the “final push” towards their final competition.