O’Fallon ‘Marching Panthers’ do drills for competition season

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O'FALLON, IL - All eyes are on Lilly Schmidt Friday afternoon. She's keeping the tempo and everyone else on track.

"I'm kind of like a metronome whenever there is no metronome," says Lilly Schmidt.

Welcome to band camp for the Marching Panthers. The 250 member O'Fallon High School marching band was busy Friday afternoon gearing up for their ambitious new season.

"The most points you get in a competition season is an effect," says Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, band director. "So that's what we're doing a visual and effect moment and that's what we're doing. We're slowly staging that with everybody and we got 200 people to stage that with so it takes a little bit of time to do that."

This year the nationally known Marching Panthers will partake in a nationwide competition in Indianapolis before making their way to Miami, Florida in December and playing at the Orange Bowl.

"We make sure we drill it a lot and that we do it multiple times before we move onto the next thing so that they memorize it," says Schmidt.

Everything is memorized, from the movements to the musical notes five days a week from 8am until 8pm.

"Very exciting and it takes even more work because it starts here," says Schmidt. "That's with our rehearsal etiquette and everything we do but that hard work gets us to those places."

"We all, band people come back and we love it and do it and it's for the energy you get when you perform," says Gustafson-Hinds. "Even at band camp they get an energy from that and each other and the performance."