ROWVA_Band1.jpgKENT KRIEGHSAUSER/The Register-Mail

Justin Haynes, band director for ROWVA High School, works with the concert band Tuesday morning. Haynes, a Knox College graduate and ROWVA alumnus, is in his first year at the position.

Marching in a new direction

ROWVA alumnus leads band to successful season

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's not the same old song and dance for the ROWVA High School marching band this year.

The 45-member group, now under the direction of Justin Haynes, took extra steps early this fall to ensure better performances and more dedication from its members.

The band talked about goals at the beginning of the season. They didn't want another fiasco like the "Amazing Collapse of 2006," they said, where the entire band "fell apart" at a competition in Washington. The goals include: to have fun, win at least one award at competition, memorize music by the first football game, have two-thirds of the field show learned by the first football game, show continued improvement and show discipline and hard work at all times.

Haynes said the group met all of its goals while performing a Monkees-themed field show this year.

The students attribute a lot of their success to their new director, the seventh band instructor at ROWVA in 15 years.

"Last year, there was no pride in what we did," said Doug Rylander, a senior trumpet player. "At the end of last year I wasn't excited about band."

Band members knew right away that Haynes was going to push them much harder this year. The band practiced six hours a day for the two weeks of band camp, then twice a week for three hours for the two weeks before school started. After school began the band practiced from 7 to 8:15 a.m. and again during its 90-minute class period.

"It's a huge time commitment," Haynes said. "They work really hard, but every day we had a blast."

Haynes taught the students to work hard but still have fun.

"We have fun, but it's not just fun all the time," said Sawyer Baker, a junior drum major. "We can be serious when we need to. It's a nice balance."

The band's hard work paid off. The Marching Tigers won 12 competition awards this year, including seven from its final competition at the University of Illinois Oct. 13.

Haynes is a 2000 graduate of ROWVA High School and 2004 graduate of Knox College with a degree in music education. Haynes taught in Stockton last year, but jumped at the chance to return to his alma mater.

"I always wanted to come back here," Haynes said. "There is a lot of musical talent in this area."


Barak Schafer plays the tuba as he and other members of the ROWVA High School concert band practice Tuesday morning under the direction of ROWVA alumni and Knox College graduate Justin Haynes.

Terry Ruehmer, a vocal instructor at ROWVA who taught Haynes, said Haynes has done "a heck of a job for his first year. He's taken on a program that's really struggled and gone through a lot. It's hard to keep a program going when it's down in numbers. He's really taken a small number of kids and made it work."

Haynes said he's had compliments from several other instructors who have noticed the band's improvement.

Haynes' goal for the future is to expand the program and get more kids interested in band. That may be difficult next year after the band graduates 14 students.

The 14 seniors in the band have been playing together, Rylander said, for more than five years. Haynes said losing their leadership will be tough, especially for such a small group.

"A lot of younger kids are going to have to step up and be a leader very fast," Haynes said.

ROWVA Marching Band Awards

- Warren County Prime Beef Festival Parade: grand champions

- Western Illinois University homecoming parade: second place band, first place color guard

- Washington Competition: first place for parade marching, first place color guard

- University of Illinois Competition, band: third place parade marching, third place field marching; first place parade percussion, second place field percussion; first place field color guard, third place parade color guard; third place parade drum majors


Football 2007

See and hear the start of this year's high school football season by clicking on the image above.

140 S. Prairie St., P.O. Box 310, Galesburg, IL 61401 :: 1-309-343-7181
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted