Marching to greatness: Marching band is nominated for three Emmys

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Samantha Bachara

After a year, the marching band looks at their nomination to the Emmy’s as a sign of perseverance

The DGS marching band has recently been nominated for three Chicago/Midwest Emmys: Outstanding Achievement in directing, editing and audio. The DGS Marching Mustangs decided to record a music video using their program before the pandemic called, “Queen Medley” using multiple songs from Queen including, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and more with the film company Bitter Jester Studios, a company that focuses on telling a story through film.

Band director Gregory Hensel talked about what his thought process was like when submitting the music video for an Emmy nomination.

“I actually didn’t know that this regional Emmy existed, the production company [Bitter Jester Studios] reached out to us in I think July or this past summer and just said ‘hey, we submit stuff typically every year, and last year because our business was slow we don’t have a lot of [projects] that we feel would be appropriate to submit but if you are cool to submit this music video’ and we just said yeah sure go ahead and submit it that’s cool with us so he submitted it not really knowing what to expect at all,” Hensel said.

He continued to talk about how he felt hearing the news about the nominations.

Bitter Jester Studios

“When we found out that we were nominated for those awards, [Bitter Jester Studios] called us and said that two of those awards are very production heavy but the coolest one is the audio one so even if it was an award for their audio production, as he put it [Bitter Jester Studio worker Nick] you can only do so much audio production with the audio you were given. So essentially the students that recorded and put together for us musically is a huge part of it,” Hensel said.

He also spoke about what the process was like for the students who were participating in the music video.

“It was a lot of work from the student perspective of just trying to get everything musically learned and figured out, creatively coming up with cool visuals stuff they could do for the video shoot,” Hensel said.

With the sudden switch in the marching bands flow, the students had to change their approach to the new media. Junior Annie White talked about the experience and how she felt when finishing the recording.

“I felt very content; I also felt that I was missing something. It wasn’t marching band, it wasn’t what it was when I was a freshman, but I was very happy that we could have done anything because I know a lot of schools just closed their marching band programs, but I was very happy that we could have anything at all and that I could participate in it at all,” White said.

“[My favorite memory was] the recording process, I play flute and piccolo and it was a lot of fun even though it was repetitive. I would also say the skits that we did were fun, like they were kind of random but it was just a fun experience overall,” White said. ”

— Annie White

The video includes shots from inside the school to on the field as clips of little skits are sprinkled throughout.

Hensel elaborated on the film-making process for the music video.

“It started with the music, we wanted to have music recorded and have the audio done so we did a sort of modified version of what our band camp would be in August so instead of having an 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. super long day every day for a full week, we had it broken into three-hour blocks where we had specific groups of students show up for that band camp week,” Hensel said.

He continued to talk about the bands commitment to the shoot and what they did when recording.

“We basically spent that whole time working on music because we knew we weren’t marching or doing any drill on the field. So we learned all the music and we got to a place where we felt really good about recording it… Then we had a video shoot day where the video company came and we had a blocked out schedule for a Saturday where we had groups of students coming in and we shot all of these [clips] in one day,” Hensel said.

Senior Abiah Fernandez talked about the importance of using music that was already learned before the pandemic.

“It was important to learn the stuff we learned before the pandemic because the upcoming freshmen and sophomores didn’t know anything, so coming in it was confusing so having that structure still be there was very important,” Fernandez said.

The Chicago/Midwest Emmys will be held this year virtually on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.