Here comes the Eagle Brigade!

Oak Park Marching Band members “Get Back” to competing and performing their show, BeatleMania


Hana Chizzo / Talon

As a grand finale to the Oak Park Marching Band’s 2021 season, the brigade competed in Moorpark’s Battle of the Bands competition with their show, BeatleMania. Spotlighting seven nostalgic Beatles songs—including those such as “The Magical Mystery Tour,” “Lady Madonna,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the show is wrapped up into four movements. After months of practicing and competing, the brigade finished strong in Moorpark, especially after a season adjusting to being back in person after an online season last year in 2020.

To choose this show for the season, members of the Instrumental Music Council put much thought into the meaning behind the show and goals for the upcoming marching band season. 

This year’s music was chosen specifically because it was feel-good music. After a year online, we really wanted everyone to have a good time with a show that was accessible to our whole group and fun to play,” OPHS Eagle Brigade’s director Elayne Rosener said. 

In previous years, but particularly last year, the shows picked have been vastly different from each other. However, last year provided a new challenge of practicing entirely over Zoom. Even with these added challenges of being online, the brigade successfully completed their show, “Chicago 1939.”

“Compared to last year, I think I like this show better,” junior Sharon Dennis, one of the Brigade’s drum majors, said. “Coming out of COVID, there is just so much unity in the band, and there’s so much more meaning behind this show. It’s thrilling every time we play a huge chord perfectly in tune and I get goosebumps, something that I missed a lot when we were distanced.”

The show this year proved to be a favorite among the band members. With a Beatles medley, it reflected the diversity of styles that the brigade was able to play, while also challenging the marching band.

“This year, I really like the music and I’m glad that, because I’m a senior, this is my ending show,” senior and Brigade member Nick Ferrante said.

Even with coming out of a successful season last year and with a new show to perform this year, the Brigade faced some obstacles early on. These challenges mostly were due to the transition between last year’s online season and an in-person season this year; despite these, the Brigade found solutions to overcome this transition.

“I think the biggest hurdle was just how few experienced members we had. We addressed this by having three, instead of [normally] one, marching captains. This meant that we had more student leaders taking responsibility to teach the many new marchers,” Roesner said.

In the show’s final performance in Moorpark, band members displayed their talents and left the field with another successful season in the books, according to Roesner. Members of the Brigade reflect on a challenging but rewarding season and though traveling the “Long and Winding Road” after coming back from Zoom practices, the Brigade’s 2021 season is one to remember.

“I think we had a rough start, but we’re pushing forward and getting better all the time. I am really proud of us and proud of how far we’ve come since the start of the season,” Ferrante said.