“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
With those words and his iconic moon landing 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong (born and raised in Ohio) became a legend. This fall, the Cloverleaf Marching Band pays tribute to Neil Armstrong and the famous Apollo 11 mission with its competition show entitled “One Small Step.” The band thinks Armstrong would approve!
The Apollo 11 tribute show includes pop hits like “Space Oddity” by David Bowie and “Rocket Man” by Elton John, as well as newly composed music. One of the band’s goals is to qualify for Ohio Music Education Association State Finals for a 38th year in a row (which is almost a record in the state of Ohio), and the students seem to agree the band is well on its way to achieving that goal.
“There’s just something unexplainable about the band this year,” said senior band President Maddie Perry. “We’re quickly maturing into a group of highly talented musicians and marchers.”
Although the school year has just started, Cloverleaf band students have been hard at work this summer, already putting in more than 200 hours of practices and performances.
“The obvious preparation takes place during band camp,” said Director Andrew Winter, “but there’s so much more that goes into creating a successful marching band. We start planning the show in February, hand out music in May, and perform in five summer parades and three back-to-school events. The dedication of our students and parents is really incredible and is a constant source of inspiration to me. With nearly 25 performances each year, we take great pride not only in our performances, but the hard work and preparation it takes to truly exemplify Cloverleaf Pride.”
The Lodi Sweet Corn Festival parade this summer was particularly bittersweet following the sudden death of former longtime Cloverleaf band director Gerald Carasea (“Mr. C”).
“Mr. C’s death was absolutely heartbreaking,” said Winter. “Mr. C was a one-of-a-kind teacher and mentor who impacted the lives of thousands of students and colleagues throughout his lifetime. Although his passing was tragic, it has re-invigorated our efforts to reach out to alumni and involve them in future performances. We look forward to many more performances with our band alumni family.”
Armstrong himself was a very talented musician. After learning piano from his mother, he started on baritone in the eighth grade. He played in the school band, then later went on to a semi-pro jazz combo, and the Purdue University Marching Band. Armstrong’s father once said, “Every time Neil came home, one of the first things he would do was sit down at the piano and play.” Neil’s mother added, “That seemed to be part of coming home. After he had played three or four things, he was ready to sit down and tell us what he had been doing. He was a lifelong musician.”
Cloverleaf Band Director Joseph Fudale said that having access to music education and exposure to fine arts is critical for students of all ages. “We are educating our students through music and are helping to shape them into well-rounded and creative young men and women, which is incredibly vital in this day and age,” said Fudale.
The band’s talents will be on full display this fall, including the first competition of the season, which takes place at Cloverleaf and is open to the public. On Sept.14, the band hosts the 38th-annual Cloverleaf Cavalcade of Sound. Eleven local bands will perform starting at 4 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors (60+) and students (grades K-college).
Top photo: The 2019 Cloverleaf High School Marching Band
Middle photo: Sophomore trombone player Ray Farnham
Bottom photo: Senior Field Commander Elizabeth Jenkins