Belleville East drumline to compete in national championship this weekend

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Belleville East High School has the beat and hopes to be the band to beat in Ohio.

“This is a world championship, so it’s basically a chance to show the world what (Belleville) East has and what we can do,” said Sydni Bozada, cymbal player. “We’ve been preparing for about six months and we’ve rehearsed over 300 hours.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the 34 students were boarding the buses to take them to the national championships in Dayton, Ohio.

“World championships is basically the biggest competition of the season,” said Lauren McKee, bass drum player. “We’ve prepared for a long time. You see the best groups in the country. Which is a big deal.”

You’ll have to forgive the Belleville East Marching Lancers for feeling good about their chances, before regionals, the group was ranked tops in the country.

Practice makes perfect in the case of this drum line. And they had plenty of practice folding paper cranes as part of their performance.

“Since I don’t play an instrument I don’t have to memorize any music, which is great,” said dancer McKenzie Grzina. “Our show is called ‘1,000 Paper Cranes’ and based on Japanese folk tale that if you build or put together 1,000 paper cranes, you’ll be granted a wish.”

If they hit everything in their routine, they’ve got a shot at winning the contest.

“I actually graduated in 2009 and came back five years ago to teach percussion,” says band director Michael Largent. “Then this group started three years ago. They did compete last year. They made it to the semifinals round in A Class. We’re one of the top-ranked groups in A Class and got promoted to the next class, which is Open. So, this year we’re competing in an entirely new different class.”

“I want to go off the gym floor and just be proud of what we did,” Bozada said. “…I don’t want to have any regrets out there.”

There will be no regrets when the rhythm hits this group at Winter Guard International World Drumline Championship this weekend in Dayton, Ohio.

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