The Swanton Bulldog Football team has had back-to-back seasons with a 9-1 regular season record, earning a well-deserved trip to the playoffs both times. Keeping right in step with its Friday night gridiron partner was the Swanton High School Marching Bulldog Band who played its way into the Ohio Music Education Association’s State Marching Band Finals for a second consecutive year by virtue of an outstanding performance in the Bulldog Bowl, a high school marching band competition held at Hansbarger Stadium earlier this year.
Swanton was one of 14 schools competing in front of seven judges and had to bring their “A” game to move on. “You have to end up with four 1’s (Superior) and three 2’s (Excellent) which is the minimum number that you can get to qualify,” explained Samantha Preisner, Swanton’s third-year band director. “We actually had five 1’s and two 2’s.”
The high marks were even more impressive considering all the additional work band members had to do to host the competition. “The week before Bulldog Bowl is always super crazy,” said Senior Drum Major Madelyn Silvius who plans on continuing her marching band career at the University of Toledo. “Not only do we have to prepare to qualify for state we have to prepare to host the competition for several bands. So, it’s always very stressful on everybody but the result was great this year.”
The band traveled to several other competitions in Ohio during the year including New Breman, Columbus Grove and Maumee and secured their spot on the field at Welcome Stadium at the University of Dayton in the season’s final competition, held on November 6. All the countless hours of hard work came down to one final “halftime” performance. “We just perform our show which is about seven or eight minutes,” said Senior trumpet player Hunter Eash who has already enlisted in the United States Marine Corp.
There were 130 bands, divided into four levels based on the enrollment numbers of the school, that performed during the competition.
Swanton’s 64-member band was assigned to the smallest group, Class C, and achieved an Excellent rating from the state’s toughest judges.
With the outdoor season now complete, the band will move indoors where it will be performing at various functions for the balance of the school year.