“Candyland” board game comes to life with Sapulpa High School marching band

The 2021-2022 school year has only been in session for about two weeks, but the Sapulpa High School marching band has been working hard since mid-July, preparing for a half-time show like no other. This year, band director Whitney Yokum wanted a show that was fun, unique and something to keep the student’s spirits up after a tough 2020-2021 school year. She, along with Kevin Mazarko, Jason Reznicek, and several support staff and volunteers have put together a half-time show based on the children’s board game “Candyland.”

Yokum says to be ready to see lots of bright colors and fun props along with upbeat music. She wants the students to have fun with this year’s show. “We are coming off a rough year and we wanted the students to have a show they could have fun with, be proud of and maybe even bring back some childhood memories.”

Since the show is based on the board game “Candyland,” there will be lots of fun, twists and turns, and bright colors from the color guard and the prop team. There are a total of 4 songs for this show, including “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Tchaikovsky, “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Four Tops, and “I Want Candy” by Aaron Carter. There is bound to be something for everyone. Tenth-grade flute player, Copeland Cantrell, says he is “giddy” about the show, “I love what I do!”

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Yokum hopes that with the help of Mozarko, Reznicek, the drill writers, prop designers, music writers, color guard director, techs, student teachers, 19 student leaders, along with Band Secretary Shannon Groves and the booster club, she can bring the community together and have a band of which Sapulpa can be proud. She says that she wants the community to “not just be proud of the band we used to be, but of who we are now.”

Drum Major Riley Groves says, “Everyone is working hard and this will be like nothing anyone has ever seen before!” There are currently about 120 students enrolled in marching band. These students have already been working hard with 3 weeks of band camp from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. before school started. Now that school has started, these students begin practicing on the field at 7:00 a.m. and finish around 8:45, and still have a full day of school ahead of them. Once a week they have another practice for about 3 hours after school. This is not only in preparation for Friday night marching, but to help get the crowd ready for pep rallies, to march in the Homecoming and Christmas parades, and to compete in 6 contests, including one that Sapulpa will host later this year. Then, after marching season is over, they begin to prepare for concert and jazz bands. These students work very hard but have formed their own community—even a family. Color Guard Captain Allyson Johnson says, “Everyone is friends in band, we don’t have a lot of drama and I can be myself.” 

Band can be an expensive activity in which to participate. They have expenses that go beyond paying for their instruments–they also have to pay for uniforms and trips, such as their trip to the Alamo Bowl Parade in San Antonio in December. They hold fundraisers nearly year-round to make all of this possible. Yokum says the lessons they learn will be applicable long after they graduate high school. “Our band community is here to teach kids to be good adults,” she says. “Something they can take with them for the rest of their lives.”

If you would like to help with fundraising please contact Shannon Groves at sgroves@sapulpaps.org