All about Marching Band winner Utica HS!

Utica High School Marching Band wins Favorite Marching Band in the 4Frenzy Fan Vote. (WDIV)

The big winner of 4Frenzy Marching Band 2021 is Utica High School’s marching band! What drives their success and passion?

When the season first began, Utica High School Marching Band Director, Brett Bays, knew there would be challenges facing his band. The obstacles started early, as the band could no longer schedule their camp at Central Michigan University and instead had to plan a camp at their own high school location. Throughout the season, band members would miss time due to COVID exposure and even testing positive for the virus.

Even with a new world of problems, Director Bays had big expectations for the marching season.

“Our goals as a band were to earn a 1st division rating from all 3 judges at our Marching Band Festival and get all A’s on the rating sheets,” said Bays. “Our overarching goal as a band is to always make each performance better than the previous one. We have achieved all of these goals this year.”

Utica High School Marching Band (WDIV)

Bays’ leadership has encouraged many of the band members to ponder a future in music. Many of the seniors graduating this year will pursue a major or a minor in music at the college level.

Olivia Pinto is a senior and captain of the color guard for the Utica Marching Band. She started color guard her freshman year, and has gone on to create lasting bonds with her color guard team and band members.

“I love my team,” began Olivia. “We all build each other up and throughout this past season have all become very close.”

Utica HS Marching Band (WDIV)

The closeness of the group is credited to Lauren Hickman, the color guard coach, who has encouraged the improvement of the team. Olivia admits that her last year is difficult, as she has to leave her team when she moves on to college.

“Our coach always pushes us to be the best we can, but also tells us it’s okay to make mistakes. I will dearly miss my team when I go away to college.” added Olivia

Before every event, Olivia and her color guard members put the tips of their flags together and say some words of encouragement. This has strengthened their bond and has made them very close teammates.

Olivia has enjoyed her time in color guard so much that she is thinking about joining a college color guard.

Another student that puts a tremendous amount of time into the band is Emma Phillips. Emma is a trumpet player and is a drum major in her junior year of high school. During her freshman year her sister Katherine was the drum major, and has helped Emma to become a great leader.

As a leader, Emma goes around as wishes everyone luck before each performance. She also acknowledges the closeness of the group.

Utica HS Marching Band (WDIV)

“We are all very close,” said Emma. “You always have a friend in marching band. The whole group is very supportive of each other.”

Marching band is a fun activity, and Emma makes sure that everyone enjoys themselves, even sharing cookies after every half-time performance. However, she knows that band takes a lot of preparation and encourages everyone to be ready and practice as much as they can.

Emma knows the band is welcoming and urges everyone to try band. By putting yourself out there, Emma believes that you can make a ton of friends as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously, and work hard.

The Utica Marching Band is a very close group, and has great leadership in Director Bays, Olivia Pinto, and Emma Phillips.

We look forward to seeing everything the band can accomplish in the future!

Watch Utica High School Marching Band perform!



We would like to thank our sponsors Meijer, Hungry Howie’s Pizza, Concordia University, and Detroit Area Honda Dealers for their support!


About the Authors:

Benjamin is a student at Oakland University with plans to enter sports media after graduation.

Creative Services Associate Producer