Nominate Your Band – Jennifer Manzanares

Halftime Magazine asked its readers, “How has marching band impacted your life?” Find out Jennifer Manzanares’ answer.

School/Band: United South High School Mighty Panther Band from Laredo, Texas
Year In School: Sophomore
Instruments: Marching—Color Guard; Concert—Percussion
Video: “USHS Band Video”

Marching band has affected my life in the way that only it can affect your life. A lot of people always say that it practically takes away your life, and all you ever do is stay after school and practice. But I think the opposite. We’re the ones that choose to be in it and stay after school and work like there’s no tomorrow.

When you’re in it, you and your fellow members become a family, and you see your band directors more than you see your own parents. I guess it’s just the feeling of knowing that you’re doing something you love and something that is fun to you that just makes everything worthwhile.

When you’re in a marching competition, and everyone is cheering for you when you hit a crescendo or when the color guard catches an amazing toss … it’s an adrenaline rush. It has always been such an exciting experience when the sport announcer says that it’s halftime and it’s time for the band to show off what they got. Another thing is just simply meeting new people that enjoy the same thing that you do and love being out there on the field alongside of you.

There are many times when you just want to give up and quit because you haven’t done anything interesting or you just don’t believe that you can win. But everyone just literally helps you out. …

We really have made each other and our band directors proud of ourselves because we’ve proven that we can learn the basics at the beginning and end up making it seem like we’ve known all of this since forever.

I guess there really isn’t much to say other than that this just gives you confidence and courage. It’s really fun, and we all completely love it. We always feel sorry for those people that quit before anything ever started because they didn’t get all of this great feeling of having a family and this rush of excitement.

It’s really amazing when we know that, in the end of all of this, we’re going to have a band trip to somewhere like Sea World or Disney World or the ends of the earth or something. But we always have fun with each other, and we really do learn how to multitask. Some of us are not only in the music area; some of us are dancers or technicians, cheerleaders and so on.

From the drum line, to the pit crew, woodwinds, brass and color guard, we’re a band united that simply loves to march and put on a good show for both a regular audience or judges, and we know we’re going to be the best that we can be.

Watch Jennifer Manzanares’ Video

Check out the other finalists’ essays and videos:


Voting for this year’s video/essay competition has ended. Thank you for your support and your votes. The winner and her band will receive a grand prize, valued at more than $3,000.

For the Winning Student:

  • $250 paid to the student
  • 1-year subscription to Halftime Magazine
  • Halftime Magazine T-shirt and other possible merchandise

For the Nominated Band:

  • $1,000 paid to the band
  • Full set of Remo PowerMax Pre-Muffled Marching Bass Drumheads, estimated retail value of $725
  • $500 (retail value) in Yamaha accessories
  • $500 (retail value) in Evans Drumheads or Rico Reeds
  • 1-year group subscription (10 copies per issue) to Halftime Magazine
  • Halftime Magazine T-shirt and other possible merchandise

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