“How’d that feel?” asked Payson High School (PHS) Marching Band Director Sergio Beraun to the purple and black uniformed band members surrounding him.
“Awesome!” they all yelled in unison huge smiles on their faces.
The PHS band had just come off the field from its second competition in the 2013 season — the Barry Goldwater Invitational.
“It was amazing for our second competition and after 20 hours of practice this week,” said drum major Molly Beier, a junior.
Beier hit on the anxiety many band members felt going into the competition, compounded by exhaustion from performing at the Globe vs. Payson football game the night before.
But the students rose to the occasion and gave it their all.
This year’s show takes risks, such as the band coming onto the field without their jackets or hats. The boys gel their hair into Mohawks and the girls slick theirs back from their foreheads and catch it into a bun.
Beraun has taught them a new marching style, in which the band members slide their feet across the field instead of the more traditional high step.
At one point in the show, every band member throws their instrument onto the ground and then puts on their jacket and hat.
While they dress, instead of silence, Tyler Krall, a member of the pit, plays a marimba solo for about 40 measures.
It’s a lot of pressure, but Krall has a secret to his success.
“I practice a lot,” he said.
Drum major Brett Royer, a senior, only had praise for the band.
“It was great,” he said. “I knew we had it in us.”
Competitions take hours. For the Saturday, Oct. 12 competition, students were dropped off at the high school before noon, but they did not return to Payson until after 1 a.m.
During those hours, the band had to load up a U-Haul with drums, sousaphones, marimbas and chimes.
Once they arrived at the competition destination, they had to unload, dress and warm up.
The performance lasts minutes, and then it’s all hands on deck to remove heavy equipment and instruments off the field to allow the next band to set up.
The next hours are full of waiting until the awards ceremony.
Bands are judged on their visual and musical performance, general effects, percussion and auxiliary.
Payson received a third place in the Division III ranking.
Beraun’s fiancee Ashely received compliments from directors of larger bands.
“They complimented us on our loud sound,” she said.
The band has another competition this Saturday, Oct. 19.