Last updated: April 30. 2014 2:56PM - 190 Views
By Megan Kennedy mkennedy@civitasmedia.com

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What’s different about Preble Shawnee’s band this year?

“We’ve matured as a group,” said Band Director, John Oliver. “We’re motivated and we’re focused.”

Preble Shawnee’s band will compete Friday, May 2, for the state title at Lakota East’s Freshman Building.

“I think we’re very prepared, I see us being extremely competitive. I think if things break our way, we can get a superior rating again,” said Oliver. The student’s motivation will earn them first place, according to Oliver.

“This is a program that has been, for the most part, stagnant for more than 50 years.”

The band consists of mostly sophomores and freshmen, said Oliver. The young talent is a positive to the group, Oliver will have at least two to three more years to improve the already-talented students. The group practices together five times a week for 50 minutes.

“We don’t accept anything less than an all-out effort,” said Oliver. “All you’ve gotta do is focus. We don’t take days off, and they know from the get-go that this is our end goal, and their goals are right in front of them.

Oliver, who has been with the organization for two years, has brought with him a new vibe with him. “I think I bring an energy that hasn’t been here in a long time,” said Oliver. “I’m hard on the kids, in a good way, they like being pushed.” Oliver also attributes the organization’s success to the freedom he’s had with administration, “they’re finally seeing what the band can become here.”

A good relationship with his students is something Oliver cherishes. “I think if you don’t have a good rapport with your students, they’re not going to work hard for you,” he said. “We get along well personally, as well as professionally.”

Oliver said he regularly attends events his students are involved in, outside of band.

The Preble Shawnee band earned a Superior rating at the district contest at Madison High School, in March, qualifying them for State.

Oliver, a University of Dayton graduate, participated in the university’s marching band and wind ensemble.

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