MHS Marching Band Continues Their 2020 Fall Season


Designed by Mililani Times

Ellie Kim, Copy Editor

     Since 2011, the Mililani High School’s Trojan Marching Band consistently won first place in Hawaii in their competitions. However, due to COVID-19 and distance learning, they had to come up with new methods to continue their practices for the 2020 fall season.

     The Trojan Marching Band is an after-school course that students can take to perform and compete against other marching bands locally and nationally. Students can learn new instruments and are divided into three sections based on the instrument they chose: wind ensemble, drumline, and colorguard. 

     “It’s definitely not like the previous season we had. It was mostly online, especially at the end of the season where it was online the whole time,” said Colorguard Captain senior Isabella Gismundo-Hook.

     Due to COVID-19, the usual practices, camps, and shows were canceled. As a result, this fall season was done entirely online. The marching band met every Tuesday and Thursday from three to six pm, via Webex, and created videos for the students to watch, learn, and practice their parts. 

     “The great thing about being online and creating almost, like, tutorial videos for the students is that they can always refer back to it or watch it over again, or they can watch it at their own speed,” music teacher and marching band director Derek Kaapana said.

     The competition against other marching bands across the state would have begun in mid-October and ended mid-November with Bandfest, which is hosted at MHS. The marching band decided to continue the show that they would have had for this year’s competition and Bandfest by putting together a video. Students will individually film their own parts playing the music and doing the choreography, but it will be shorter than their usual shows, which usually run for seven minutes. After collecting the individually filmed videos, Kaapana and a team of videographers plan to combine them into the final product. The date of the video’s release has yet to be determined. 

     “I’ve been looking forward to this season because we had, like I mentioned, the Camp Erdman thing, and we have our bandfest and all of our competitions to end the season,” Gismundo-Hook said.  “It’s just a great, like, a reward for all the months of training and practice we had for the season.”

     The marching band will compete in the Winter Guard International (WGI), a global organization that holds colorguard, drumline, and wind ensemble competitions every year.  While the event is usually held inside of a gym, since students are not allowed to travel and compete in person, the competition will be held virtually in February 2021. The competing students will film their production, send it to the WGI’s streaming service, and get judged on their performance. 

     “I want to ensure that once the pandemic ends and we are allowed to practice and compete in person once again, that we can keep the same standard of performing that we have had these past years and continue to grow from there. I also want to see the group continue to draw eyes in the national scene and be a standard for what marching band should be,” Drum Major senior Jake Yoshimura said.

     In past years, students had a lot of bonding time during practices and camps held during the summer and throughout the season. But the pandemic won’t change that fact. The band has continued to do bonding activities and games on Webex. 

     “My main hope and goal is to reunite motivation and passion within the students ‘cause that’s something that really drove the marching programs,” Kaapana said. “My second goal will be to make sure that our groups are well received nationally, whether that means we make it to finals or place, or we don’t, as well. As long as we have a good representation of our program on a national stage.”

     For more information about Mililani High School’s Trojan Marching Band, visit their website,