Band Director Paul Baur says the band fought hard throughout the year and met many obstacles along the way.

It was a year long process resulting in a grand finale. The Pride of the Lake Marching Band just completed their yearly campaign and took the performance all the way to the semi-final stage of grand nationals. This placed the group in the top 37 marching bands in their class throughout the entire country, a feat only accomplished by one other Missouri high school (Blue Springs). 

Band Director Paul Baur says the band fought hard throughout the year and met many obstacles along the way. Baur is already in Dallas, making plans for the design of next year’s show, but he took time to reflect on the major success this year’s core had accomplished.

The 2018 show was titled Red Hot, and centered around music with the theme of red. Songs played by the band included Red Violin, Red Cape Tango, and Lady in Red. He says that last year, they played with the theme of Tickled Pink. Though he enjoyed the performance, he felt that they needed to come back with something more sophisticated. With this in mind, the natural progression was to move to red.

Overall, Baur says the students took well to the concept of the performance and ran with it straight away. With 206 kids in the band, he says he stressed that they would all have to put in a lot of time and work hard. 

“Everyone his important to make this work,” Baur said. “From Freshman to Senior, they all have to perform at a high level.” 

The process began last November. Baur says that, oddly enough, the planning was held at the site of grand nationals the year before, an eerie hint at things to come. After coming up with everything, the practice began almost immediately. He says in the early part of 2018, they ran through music, costumes, drills and choreography. These each were fundamental to the overall picture and he says by Spring, things were really starting to move together. 

During the summer, Baur says the students began working on individual section rehearsals, with guard and rums in June and winds coming in July. By the time school began, the group was practicing every morning at 6:00 a.m. Even though the practice schedule was rough, he says the students never questioned it and always put forth their best effort. 

“They knew that to be at this level, this is what it takes,” Baur said.

Once practice was through, the band was ready to showcase their 9 ½ minute performance to the world. In September, the band went to Tennessee for contest, though was met with a bleak outcome. They would go on to place 12th, the lowest Camdenton had ever placed at the event. Baur says they put on a great show, but they were plagued with technical errors. 

Baur worried that this would be a hard hit to many of the students and lower their drive. However, it did just the opposite. He says the defeat irritated the students and pushed them to practice harder and come out of it better than before. 

In November, the band would have another chance to show their skill in San Antonio. With Texas high schools having a reputation of going above and beyond, they knew this would be a test. They ended up being the only non-Texas high school in attendance. Performing in Class Two on a national level, Camdenton was able to place third in the San Antonio event and suddenly, it felt like things were starting to click. Next stop, Grand Nationals. 

Hosted in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Baur says the contest saw schools from all over the country, including Oregon, Utah, New York and elsewhere. Being the final marching band performance of the year for many schools, he said the atmosphere was intense knowing that all schools present would be bringing their best. The band performed and waited to hear the results. 

“We knew the history of this competition, but we were prepared and knew the odds,” Baur said.

The schools that would be moving forward in the competition were named randomly, with 37 total. Thirty names had been announced without any sign of Camdenton, and Baur says they were starting to accept their reality. Then, #31 was announced; Camdenton High School Pride of the Lake Marching Band. 

“From that moments throughout the whole weekend, I think I got around 500 notifications on my phone. It was crazy,” Baur said. 

Baur says there were cries of joy throughout the band as they realized what they had accomplished. It was a big moment for the group as they would move on to perform amongst the top 37 school in their class throughout the entire country. Though they would go no further in the contest, Baur says it was an unbelievable feat. 

Baur praised his students for the hard work put in by each member throughout the year. He says that every single instrument and member played an important role in the total outcome and it couldn’t have been done otherwise. He also says that, without the community surrounding the band, there wouldn’t be the drive to push as hard as they did. To the lake area, he says the band couldn’t have succeeded without them. 

“Without the lake area rallying around us, we couldn’t have done this. It’s takes everyone involved to make this happen,” Baur said.