Nominate Your Band – Jozie Hanson

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

School/Band: West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley Marchmasters
Year in School: Sophomore
Instrument: Bass Clarinet

Video: “Eyes With Pride”

The Valley Marchmasters silently march forward in single-file lines. Lights from the stadium glint off the
polished metal as the marching band walks onto the field. Drum majors give four beats, and the show is under way. The steps fall faster, the figures become more elaborate as the music reaches its climax. The band takes a deep breath and closes the song with horns to the box with such volume that the bleachers
shake. With the chord cutting through the frigid air, the applause is deafening. These memories and friends will last forever.

As we leave the field, instruments hang at our sides, and we talk candidly about our performance.

Soon, we are reminiscing about our best performances. We change back into our street clothes, pack our instruments back into the black cases and head home to sleep before the marching band competition early tomorrow.

Regardless of age or instrument, every band member is a friend, is family. Our tight bonds are because of what we have accomplished together. Every year we grieve and rejoice as the seniors say goodbye; we welcome the newbies into the family; we memorize a new set of songs and steps and revisit how to get our toes up just as high as last year. We endure mind-numbing repetition. We run the same set over and over until our bodies perform automatically. The sun rises and sets as we work tirelessly to piece together a new show.

Band requires everyone to be at the same level of excellence, no matter what age or years of experience. A band is only as good as its weakest member. To get all band members to exceed their highest potential is not easy—not for them, the directors, drum majors or anyone. Achieving the best requires extreme focus, discipline and musicianship. Unless everyone is focused to make the show the best it can be, mistakes will happen.

Musicianship is most difficult on the field. It is easy to crescendo a whole note while sitting on a chair in an auditorium; it is significantly more difficult to crescendo that same note while you are marching double-time steps to a spot 15 yards away.

Many of the skills I have learned from marching band can be applied to life. Working hard, never giving up and striving to be the best that you can be are important lessons to apply to everyday life.

Every single one of those goals and more are the very foundation of a successful marching band.

Marching band has given me more than I could have ever imagined. Simply put, marching band has changed my life. All of my friends are in the band program. We work hard, but we always have time to play too. I am a better person because band gives me something to work for and requires me to set high standards for myself, and without it, I don’t think I would be the person I am today.

Watch Jozie Hanson’s 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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