Marching Patriots continue steps ahead

Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Heritage Hills High School freshman Rose Lloveras, center, plays the flute with the marching band at the football game in Lincoln City on Oct. 2.


LINCOLN CITY — It didn’t go as planned.

This fall was supposed to mark the Heritage Hills Marching Patriots’ return to the Indiana State School Music Association competition circuit. Years of rebuilding under current director Keith Dossett had led the group to new levels of performance ability — and program ownership.

Due to the ISSMA season’s pandemic-related cancellation, however, students were instead limited to playing at home football games throughout the late summer and fall. Still, members of the Lincoln City high school ensemble found a way to ensure that 2020 would have a lasting impact on their burgeoning band.

Dossett approached the year with the mentality that without awards or contests, the modified season would give the kids a chance to remember why they truly loved being a part of the group.

“The level of positivity coming from all angles and facets of this group made it totally worth it,” he said. “I’m going to always remember this as that one year where everything got shut down. But I’m also going to remember that it’s been one of the most positive marching season experiences that I’ve ever been a part of, as an instructor or a performer. It’s been great.”

Heritage Hills played a “popular, rock ‘n’ roll type show,” Dossett said, featuring songs by Journey, Van Halen, Scorpions and Kiss. The five-and-a-half minute marching performance was “enough to get the kids moving and having a good time,” Dossett added.

“Honestly, it was a nice little intro for our incoming students this year,” he said. “Kind of a ‘Hey, this is just a taste of what it’s going to be.’ Kind of take a year and get the basics down, and then next year, hopefully we’ll get back to contests and they know the basics of what’s going on.”

Mia Boultinghouse, a junior clarinet player in the band, echoed this sentiment. She said the members had “a lot better connection this year, and it was a phenomenal year” for the group’s younger marchers.

“Because it showed them what they will be going through,” she said, “just on a smaller scale. Which helped them in the long run.”

One of those rookies was eighth-grader Nolan Price. He plays the tuba, and he said that after this past season, he feels like he’s in a position to succeed when the group makes the jump into the competitive ISSMA Scholastic Class circuit next year.

“I just think there’s a really good energy between everybody in the band,” he said. “Everybody is pretty supportive.”

Blake Wade was a senior trumpet player in the group. He said the Marching Patriots are “leaps and bounds better” than they were when he joined the band as a freshman four years ago. Even though he missed out on the competitions, he still left his mark.

“I had a lot of fun this season,” Wade reflected. “I got to be a big influence on a lot of underclassmen and help lead the way for the future people in marching band.”

It was a year of preparation that kept the program moving forward.

“These kids, they realize the growth that they’ve been a part of,” Dossett said, later adding that “these kids have really stepped up over the past couple years. And especially this past season this fall. They’ve really stepped up, and I really am looking forward to seeing what the next few years bring up.”

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