Silly pose

Douglas Marching Band members Coutney Gatewood (far left) and Miriam Harris (center) hoist Kelsey Nolte in the air as the band wraps up a silly team picture following last weekend’s State Music Festival performance at the Casper Events Center.

Excited voices echoed off the stark, confined painted concrete hallways of the Casper Events Center as Douglas High School Marching Band students finally took a moment to release a collective sigh of relief. They had done it. Their months of work, sometimes late into the evening long after school ended, culminated into a few moments in the spotlight in front of a nerve-wracking jam-packed audience of peers, community members and other musically-inclined marchers from around the state. Not only did they succeed in their performance, they nailed it.

Standing in a full black suit and blue button up shirt before them, a proud man simply clapped his hands in appreciation as students, flushed in the face from the madness that just ensued, started cracking smiles back at him.

This was Director Tim Painter’s second year working the Bearcat Marching Band and first year as the full time band director. He didn’t go easy on them. He expected them to master more difficult musical selections, and made the overall drills in the show more of a challenge in attempt to take them to a superior level in the eyes of those judging the State Music Festival last Saturday.

“I picked a really challenging show that you would pick with a bigger band,” Painter said on Monday. “We worked hard every day.”

His goal, along with the approximately 75 students in the marching band, was to achieve a superior rating. Although they wound up earning an excellent rating just like the year before, he couldn’t have been more proud of the effort they displayed on the field.

Only one 3A school, Worland, went on to achieve a superior rating, and Douglas was just out of striking distance in joining them at the top.

Painter has a lot to look forward to in the future. He said his leadership this year was second to none, and couldn’t believe how his freshmen and sophomores stepped up to the challenge at hand and delivered.

“We came such a long way,” he said, thinking back to when students began practicing months ago. “Attitudes all around were amazing. The kids wanted to be a part of something great, so they put in the time.”

Despite the results, Painter said the students “were on cloud nine” after they performed a show they knew they could be proud of at the end of the day.

“Overall, everyone was psyched with how it went,” he said.

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