Junior Kita  Van Der Vennet and the  percussion section of the Golden Eagle Marching Band perform.

Junior Kita Van Der Vennet and the percussion section of the Golden Eagle Marching Band perform.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Ferndale marching band finishes second at state championships

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 5, 2018

FERNDALE — The Golden Eagle Marching Band of Ferndale High School finished in second place in the Flight IV division of the Michigan Competing Band Association State Championship at Ford Field Nov. 3.

The close contest saw Ferndale finish with a final score of 89.613 from the judges, while Lakeshore High School, of Stevensville, Michigan, received 90.125.

Nicholas Stoll, one of the two conductors for the band and a drum major, said the band felt great after its performances.

“We walked off the field and we felt like we put on the best show we had all season,” he said. “There was so much energy during the performance and before with all the people watching, just everyone in the band coming together to put that show on for the very last time.”

For Stoll, a 17-year-old Ferndale senior, this was one of his last performances with the Golden Eagle Marching Band and his last time competing for a state championship.

“All I was thinking about was finishing this last performance and just making it the best I can so that, by the end, there’d be no regrets, and just remember it as the best it can be,” he said.

The band performed five pieces during its performance: “Take Five,” by Paul Desmond; “Rhapsody in Blue,” by George Gershwin; “True Colors,” by Cyndi Lauper; “Theme from Mission: Impossible,” by Lalo Schifrin; and “Mars, the Bringer of War,” by Gustav Holst.

Ferndale High School Principal Lisa Williams was able to watch the band perform at Ford Field.

“The students showed high energy and enthusiasm. Aesthetically, it was just a beautiful show. Students worked hard all year, and they put their best into the performance,” she said.

Though they weren’t able to secure their 10th state title since 2004, Stoll said that what really matters is how the band members feel about how they did.

“In an activity that is subjectively judged by a judging panel, even if they determine that one band necessarily performed better over another, that doesn’t really matter when you think about how your performance was and what your performance was to you,” he said.

Williams said the band members have everything to be proud of because of their hard work.

“Even over the years, (Band Director Elon Jamison) has maintained a consistency of excellence,” she said. “He has very high expectations, and the students always rise to the occasion.”

Though he said he isn’t sure what his college plans are at the moment, other than that he knows he wants to play in a marching band, Stoll said it’ll be hard leaving his Golden Eagle band after this year.

“At the end, you don’t really remember what score you got or a little bit about how you placed, but really you just remember the people and the experience that you had over however long you’ve been in the band, whether it’s been five years for some people or this is their first year,” he said. “You just remember all of that and what the people made you feel.”