The Chester High School pep band did the community proud on March 7, by entertaining Redbird Arena all day during the four games of the Class 3A and 4A girls basketball finals.
"All day I had fans coming up to me and saying how good the band was and praising our kids," said CHS Band Director Steve Colonel.
"Several times tournament officials approached me to say how much they enjoyed our music and some even noted that we never had to repeat a song throughout the afternoon."
The Yellow Jacket band was one of just 12 pep bands in Illinois chosen to perform at the 2020 IHSA basketball finals in Bloomington. Luckily, the band got their gig in before coronavirus and the IHSA pulled the plug on the rest of the tournament. Roughly 50-60 bands applied.
The pep band left Chester High School at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by about 20 parents, family members and school administrators, who went along for moral support. It was the first time since 1986 that a Chester pep band played for a state tournament.
Once at Redbird, the band set up for their first performance at 10:30 a.m., prior to the Class 3A 3rd Place game which tipped-off at 11 a.m. The band played for all timeouts, at halftime and between the Class 3A 3rd place game and the start of the Class 3A Championship game.
The kids got a break for a late lunch, and then were back in action at 5 p.m., playing the pregame show of the Class 4A 3rd place game. Tipoff was at 5:30 p.m. and the CHS music-makers performed at all timeouts and at halftime of that game.
After that it was the Class 4A title game, which Fremd High School won at about 8:45 p.m.
A very tired group of 59 CHS Pep Band members then packed up all of their equipment and carried it back to the bus. They got back to Chester High School at 1:30 a.m.
"It is quite an honor that we were selected to play," Colonel said. "Believe me, we had a very tired group, but everyone thought it was well worth the effort."
Susan Zappa Vasquez, mother of one of the pep band members said, "It was a long day for this group, but the CHS Pep Band did an amazing job entertaining the fans.
"What a wonderful experience for our kids. We are so fortunate that our little community has such an awesome music program. Thank you for all of your hard work Mr. and Mrs. Colonel."
Colonel said he's very proud of his musicians, "I am very proud of each and every one of these kids. They worked very hard to accomplish this goal of playing at an IHSA State Tournament and did us proud throughout the entire day."
Pep band members at the IHSA tournament were"
• Flutes: Hannah Colvis, Maddie Hasemeyer, Kailey Hall, Jessica Handel, Taylor Hennrich, Candis Knapp, Alana Meyer, Alyssa Place and Destiny Williams.
• Clarinets: Jasmine Anaya, Andy Bryant, Ashlyn Colvis, Oddessy Flores, Lydia Heck, Kylie Hines, Shawnell Madison, Megan Miller, Alyssa Seymour, Grace Stec; Brianna Surman, Bailey Wahl and Hunter Zweigart.
• Bass Clarinets: Caitlin Eggemeyer, Jordanna Frazer and Avery Runge.
• Alto Saxes: Clayton Andrews, Anna Childs, Melody Colonel, Maeghan Fuller, Jesse Heath, Lily Koch, Cesar Marquez, Chris Schwier, Katie Shinabargar, Ariel Throop and Jacob Werner.
• Tenor Saxes: Lily Lochhead and Chloe Page-Keim.
• Baritone Sax: Wyatt Johnson.
• Trumpets: Jacob Handel, Luke Miller, Cammie Schroeder, Cayla Sibley, Cortnie Winkler and Blake Zappa.
• French horn: Nate Rains.
• Trombones: Devon Adams, Tyler Holm and Brayden Ridings.
• Tuba: Kaleb Rehmer.
• Mallets: Mallary Vasquez and Alison Venus.
• Percussion: Chelsea August, Wes Carpenter, Aaron Fitzwilliam, Cordi Stirnaman and Ryan Springston.