Doniphan-Trumbull Director Builds Band
There are challenges being a small marching band, but a director with a big band background is building a culture of music at Doniphan-Trumbull.
“The first year I was here we had a combined junior high / high school band,” Andy Schneider said.
Now, Schneider has a dedicated high school band, as he gets them in step.
“What do your lines look like?” he asks his band during a morning rehearsal.
He’s 11 years and 13 miles removed from his days marching with the Islanders of Grand Island Senior High.
In 2005, he told NTV, “We practice from 7 in the morning until first period starts, about two hours every morning.”
From the Grand Island drumline to band director, Schneider says it’s not as different as you may think.
“Much larger band then, but I still think band is a universal language. You can practice same fundamentals in a 180-piece band as a 30-piece band,” he said.
Students say Schneider has them on the right track.
Freshman trumpet player Maddie Stock said, “Since we got Mr. Schneider, everything has improved, got more people out for band, and we sound really good.”
The four members of the flag corps all play percussion outside of the marching band season.
“We are flags. Flags are us,” they chant.
Senior Carsyn Poppe said, “I think we're looking good, being out there marching with them every day. I think our steps been looking better the last few years and our music's been sounding better as well. “
Drum Majorette Alexis Dembowski said her duties include watching out for the band, to “make sure they don’t hit any cars.”
She too says the band is improving.
“I think we sound really well this and I think we might get some medals this year,” she said.
Schneider comes from a family of band directors, including his wife, his father-in-law, and his brothers-in-law.
He says they are all trying to pass along a love of music to these kids.
“That's my philosophy,” he said. “I'm not trying to teach them to be professional musicians by any means, I just want them to enjoy playing in band and enjoy learning an instrument and the value of learning an instrument, learning discipline, that applies everywhere in life.”
With 28 kids in band, Schneider says you work with what you have, as he builds a culture.
He said, “It's like the old saying: Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was a band program or football team or volleyball team, anything like that; any organization takes time and dedication. We have a really great group of kids to build that off of for the future. Future looks bright.”