MCC, MCE bands join forces for fall marching season

August 17, 2023

MCE’s Lauren Tiffany, left, and MCC’s Caleb Schultz.

MCC, MCE bands join forces for fall marching season

Spartan News is a presentation of Mason County Central Schools in partnership with Mason County Press. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Eastern High School and Mason County Central High School have formed a cooperative marching band for the upcoming football and marching band competition season. Jointly, the band will be known as the Mason County Marching Band. The idea came from MCE’s new teacher of music Lauren Tiffany and MCC’s second-year director of bands Caleb Schultz.

While MCE’s bands in the past have marched parades, this is the first time in the school’s history that the band students will march on a football field for football games and competition. Football field marching includes half-time performances that involve marching to create various formations on the field. More history will be made later in October during the MCC vs. Ludington football game when all three county high school bands will perform together for the half-time show at Spartan Community Field.

“Lauren and I were both in the same program at Grand Valley State University,” Schultz said. “When she got the job at MCE, it just seemed like a great opportunity for us to work together and give our students to jointly form a bigger band, which means more instrumentation and the students gaining two teachers.”

Students from both bands have been rehearsing together over the past two weeks during band camp at MCC. Their efforts will be showcased at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18 during a community performance at Spartan Community Field.

“Our focus as teachers is to provide what’s best for the students,” Tiffany said. “Our schools are only a few miles apart and I believe the kids deserve the best music education we can provide for them. We have support from the administration of both schools and are very happy about that.”

Tiffany said participation of the marching season is optional for her students, but they will be jointly rehearsing with MCC throughout the fall during its weekly evening rehearsals. So far, only four of the 32 students have attended the band camp but Tiffany said she is confident more of the students will join once the season begins. The MCC band will have about 55 students this football season (their participation isn’t optional). Schultz said if all of MCE’s students were to participate, it would mean the joint band would be over 80 students.

“That’s incredible,” Schultz said, adding the only issue is that MCC currently only has 72 uniforms (the band program purchased new uniforms last year).

“This is not only a great opportunity, but should be a lot of fun as well,” Tiffany said.

MCC High School Principal Jeff Tuka agreed that the joint program sets a good example of schools working together.

“MCE has always been a good cooperative neighbor to MCC,” Tuka said. “This is another example of our local schools coming together and giving kids the opportunities that will help them develop.”

MCE Superintendent Paul Shoup agreed with Tuka. “MCE and MCC have had a long time working relationship, but most of the time, our cooperation is behind the scenes,” Shoup said. “This will be a nice way to show that cooperation a little more in front of the scenes.”

Shoup said Tiffany proposed the idea to him only a few weeks after she was hired. “I fully embraced her proposal to work together with MCC,” Shoup said. “If we can give students an opportunity to work together like this, and give band students a chance to be in a bigger band, it’s a win for everyone.”

To help the joint program out, the Scottville Clown Band has donated $5,900 through its Founders Grant student services program. The funds have helped to buy t-shirts for the students to wear with their uniforms and also to purchase shoes. Schultz said the remainder of the funds will be divided up between the two programs to be used for needs such as the purchase or repair of instruments and other needs that may arise.

“We are very thankful for the continued support of the Scottville Clown Band,” Schultz said. “The Clown Band’s donation and the donation received today from West Shore Bank from its Rhythm & Dunes series are great examples of community organizations showing their commitment to supporting arts education in Mason County.”  See related story here.

The fall marching season is as follows:

  • Thursday, Aug. 24:  Football: MCC vs. Wyoming Godwin Heights, home, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 8: Football, MCC vs. North Muskegon, home, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 15: Football, MCC vs. Holton, home, 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 23: Competition: Grand Haven Marching Band Invitational, Grand Haven High School, 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 7: Parade and Competition: Cedar Springs Red Flannel Festival, Cedar Springs
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11: Competition: Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) District 1 Marching Band Festival, location to be announced.
  • Friday, Oct. 13: Parade and Football Game: MCC homecoming, parade in Scottville followed by football game, MCC vs. Shelby, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 20: Football: MCC vs. Ludington, home, 7 p.m. Combined performance with LHS Marching Band.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21: Competition: Jenison Marching Band Invitational and East Kentwood Marching Band Invitational. Times to be announced.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 24: Awards night at A.O. Carlson Gym, 6 p.m.

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