“Sometimes You Have to Forego One Dream to Make Another Dream a Reality!”


Melody Colonel, Assistant Editor

On January 21, our CHS Band Director, Mr. Colonel received an email, stating that the CHS Pep Band had been selected to play the Girls 3A-4A  Championship games in Normal, Illinois. Now, let’s back up for a second. At the end of the 2018/19 school year, Mr. Colonel went to the band with a goal for the next school year. The goal seemed almost impossible.

When Mr. Colonel first started teaching at CHS, he submitted VHS tapes to audition to play for the state series tournaments. Chester was never selected. Last year, Mr. Colonel said that he wanted to try again. The band decided to meet a few nights to rehearse for the audition filming process. The band thought that this year would be a trial year. Never in a million years would the band get selected.

Throughout the first half of the basketball season, the band played at some of the home girls and boys basketball games trying to collect footage that could be edited and sent in. After the video was submitted, it was a waiting game. The band could never get selected on the first try, right?

This past year, the IHSA developed a new system of classing for the Music Sweepstakes Competition. The band, having won the state championship for Class C in 2017, was placed in Class B for the 2019 competition. Due to this new system of classes, Chester was bumped back down to Class C. The band was ecstatic, another chance at the championship sounded amazing! If only they would get invited to play at the state basketball games, would their year full of goals be complete.

It was all a waiting game. Now, back to the email Mr. Colonel received. They email had stated that the CHS Pep Band was invited to play for the girls 3A-4A Championship games, on March 7th! Now, many people may not know that the news received was amazing but also devastating. March 7th is the scheduled date of Solo and Ensemble Contest. Solo and Ensemble Contest contributes a majority of the sweepstakes points needed to be Class C champions, once again. So, a decision had to be made.

Every year, 50-60 schools audition for 8 spots at the respective basketball games. It was a major honor to be selected for a 3A-4A Championship, since Chester is a 2A school. Mr. Colonel brought the band and swing choir together the morning of the 22nd. He explained to them, a decision had to be made. Going to play pep band, would mean CHS would forego another State Championship opportunity this year. Passing on the opportunity to play pep band, could mean that the band could never be selected to play again. The group decided that since only 60 students can play in the band the other members would go to Solo and Ensemble Contest in Nashville. The group believes that if enough of the students who will not be in Normal go to contest, a 2nd or 3rd place finish is possible in the state series.

The CHS Sting would like to offer our congratulations and good luck to the Music Dept. as they go through this journey over the next few months!

If you would like to see the bands audition video,