Hickman High School band will perform at Missouri game in place of Marching Mizzou on Saturday

Roger McKinney
Columbia Daily Tribune
Hickman High School drum major Grant Kaplan leads the Kewpie marching band during practice Friday morning. The Kewpies will perform Saturday at Faurot Field when the Tigers play Southeast Missouri State.

The Hickman High School marching band will be in the spotlight Saturday as it fills in for Marching Mizzou at Faurot Field.

Marching Mizzou is leading the bicentennial parade in Jefferson City, so the champion of its marching band festival was asked to fill in for the pre-game show at Saturday's game against Southeast Missouri State.

The band rehearsed Friday morning at Hickman, and there will be final run-throughs Saturday morning at Faurot Field.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing for everyone here," said Taylor Anderson, a 16-year-old junior who plays the clarinet.

They're feeling the pressure, but they'll use it to perform up to the standards Marching Mizzou set for them, she said.

Kaden Hartman, 16, a junior, also is looking forward to the performance.

"I'm really excited about the fact that we're the first band from Hickman in 30 years to play at a Mizzou game," Hartman said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

That's right, 30 years. The band played at games with Marching Mizzou in 1970 and 1980, said associate band director Tom Sweeney. Saturday will be their first time actually filling in for the band.

"It's huge," Sweeney said. "We told our students it's an honor to be invited to perform for a collegiate game."

Hickman High School senior Delaney Kaplan, center, plays her flute during marching band practice Friday morning.

Band director Denis Swope gave directions throughout Friday's rehearsal.

"Your arrival time is going to be between 6 a.m. and 6:15," Swope said. "Ugh. I know. It's early."

There is a short time window for breakfast, then rehearsal at 7:30, he said.

"Then it's go, go, go until the game," he said.

The band's performance is titled "Untamed," with music from "The Jungle Book" and the band Imagine Dragons. It also will perform "The Missouri Waltz," "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "The Mizzou Fight Song."

In one corner of the field, twirler Josie Kespohl, 15, a sophomore, practiced her routine with three batons.

How long has she been twirling?

"Since 5," she said. "I don't even know."

She's ready to perform Saturday, she said.

"I'm very excited," Josie said. "It can't come faster."

Her personal coach, Patty Kespohl, was working with her. A twirler at Hickman and graduating in 1964, she went on to twirl for MU.

"This was something happening we were not expecting," she said of the Faurot Field performance.

The Hickman High School marching band practices Friday.

It's Nora Humfeld's third year in band. The saxophone player is a 16-year-old junior.

"I'm super excited," Humfeld said. "It's such a large audience."

They learned four new songs and two new formations for Saturday's performance, she said.

Swope cautioned band members not to pay attention as the audience clapped along to the fight song, but to pay attention to the drummers. There also is a B-2 flyover and a cannon that they have prepared for.

"All right," Swope said. "Groovy. Let's set for a full run."

Mal Moody, a 17-year-old senior, plays the flute in the band. She said she's prepared.

"It's our first experience not at Hickman," Mal said. "It's a really big deal."

Grant Kaplan is one of the two senior drum majors, conducting the band.

"It is a really large responsibility leading the band on the field," said Grant, 17.

The band is ready for its moment in the spotlight, he said.

"It is a huge deal," Grant said. "It is a massive honor. I'm incredibly proud our band was chosen for this opportunity and I look forward to living up to their standards."

Wear sunscreen, Swope said. There will be breakfast, but he cautioned members to use judgment about how much they eat.

He left band members with some final thoughts.

"I hope you're excited about tomorrow," Swope said. "I am. It's going to be a fun time. It's going to be a great experience."

rmckinney@columbiatribune.com, 573-815-1719