LaBelle High School Marching Band competes in Mariner Triton Invitational

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Hopper) LHS Marching Band performing at the Mariner Triton Invitational, their show is titled, “This is Home.”

The importance of music in schools, is supported by a multitude of studies that show how music positively affects the brain, especially learning to playing instruments. Playing music keeps the brain active and growing, can help relieve stress, and is known to alleviate depression and anxiety. Marching band members are not just musicians, they’re endurance athletes as well. Often marching as many as five to 10 miles in the sun, while carrying heavy instruments requires both strength and proper nutrition. Also, marching at one tempo while simultaneously playing another increases neural connections that help teens become exceptional at multi-tasking, a paramount skill for both college and in the workplace. Proprioception, discipline, teamwork, camaraderie, resilience, flexibility, trust, manners, respect, physical and mental health, the list of benefits is seemingly endless. That is why music teachers like LaBelle High School’s Alexa Pena, and LaBelle Middle School’s Ben Potter, are absolutely priceless.

Saturday, October 5 marked the culmination of months of intensely hard work put forth by the dedicated young musicians and teachers that make up our very own LaBelle High School Marching Band. After many hours of band practice in the heat and humidity, on scalding turf, and in crowded parking lots during countless rehearsals, football games, and other public performances, the Marching Cowboys competed in the Mariner Triton Invitational, a marching band competition amongst bands from around the state. LHS Marching Band’s captivating and talented Drum Major, Sadie Gaskins, led the band with confidence as each student, clad in their sharp, classic Cowboy-red uniforms, toting their instruments as they gleamed in the sun, roll-stepped into the blustering winds and onto the field ready to for battle.

The competition included Ida Baker HS, South Fort Myers HS, Cape Coral HS, Charlotte HS, Lemon Bay HS, Barron Collier HS, and Palm Beach Central HS. They played their hearts out, marched proudly, and showed resilience in the face of adversity. Many of the preliminary performances, including LHS, were somewhat sabotaged by the blustery winds. Props were blown over, flags and hats wobbled, but the music was on point thanks to the awesome leadership skills of Pena, Potter, and Gaskins. LHS ended up having to zip-tie bricks to their props for better stability in the strong winds. By the finals, later in the evening, the wind had finally died down but the tension had not. Bands took to the field, some traditional, marching corps-style, and some with extravagant flags and props, but all gave impressive, artistic, and truly enjoyable performances. In the end, Palm Beach Central’s Bronco Band Members were crowned the Overall Grand Champions.

If you’d like to help support the Marching Cowboys and the LaBelle High School Band Program, there are sponsorship opportunities such as having your business name mentioned at games, printed on programs, parade banners, and/or the band trailer, and so much more! If you’re interested, or have questions, you may contact LHS at 863-674-4120. See the LHS Marching Band in action, performing “This is Home” at halftime, during Friday night home football games.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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