Marching Band Steps Up for New Season Best


Chris Law Photography

West is on top! The Blue and Gold Marching Band performs in the USBands circuit on October 15.

Abbi Bradley, Staff Reporter

The Downingtown West Blue & Gold Marching Band powered through a long day of competition on October 15 at Unionville High School and reached new heights. The first performance took place in the Cavalcade of Bands circuit, where they earned a score of 91.0 and secured first place over Downingtown East in the Patriot Open division. Later, the band competed in the USBands circuit, receiving a new season best of 92.3 in the Group V Open class.

The band is accustomed to lengthy practices before leaving for competitions, so playing  in two different circuits in one day proved challenging. Trumpet section leader and soloist Emily Weschules (’24) said of the first performance, “Even though it wasn’t all that great, [it] made the night performance seem better.”

Going into the second performance, at least one band member questioned how the evening event would play out. “I thought we would drop scores because of the difference in circuits, making the morale drop from the [earlier] performance,” said Sutton Scales (’24), the band’s low woods section leader.

Just moments before the band took the field for the second time, band director Ed Otto gave the kids some words of encouragement. “I felt great because of the pep talk,” Scales said, adding, “[The performance was] really great at night, like our best performance yet!”

For the first time in six years, the 150-plus-member band is making its mark in the USBands circuit, arguably a step up in the rankings. “I do like being a part of something a lot bigger than before, with more opportunities,” Weschules said.

When asked his feelings, Sutton responded, “It feels like we’re not messing around anymore.”

On October 22, the West marching band will host the USBands Pennsylvania State Championships at Kottmeyer Stadium, performing last at 9:30 p.m. in the Group V Open class. “I think this weekend will be a nice send-off,” Weschules said.

The band will also compete in the Bands of America Regional Championships on October 29 and the USBands National Championships at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on November 5.