A New Era: Nordonia Marching Band Qualifies for States for the 11th Year Consecutively

Photo by Jason Roberts

As football season rolls around, the marching band always comes around for another season. You might recognize the Nordonia High School Marching Band from underneath the scoreboard at the home football games, but they’re now in new uniforms and with a new band director. It’s almost like the Nordonia Marching Band is unrecognizable. On Saturday, September 16th, the Nordonia Marching Band debuted their new uniforms at their first competition at Louisville, Ohio with their 2023 competition show, “A Day in Paris.” 

The show takes you through Paris’ most famous monuments, which includes the Louvre, Notre Dame, and several other famous monuments that you might recognize. “A Day in Paris” also includes a variety of songs that range from “Morning Mood” by Edvard Greig, “The Bells of Notre Dame” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin. 

The band performed proudly with their new uniforms. The band retired the old uniforms after having them for 10 years, and seen some of the Nordonia band’s most notable shows which includes Searching for a New World (2016), Night Lights (2021), and Voyager: The Great Gig in the Sky (2018). For shows like Searching for a New World, the uniforms had lights sewn into the middle of the uniforms that were once displayed during the show. 

Aside from the new uniforms, the band has also acquired a new director. Eric Vasquez worked on the Nordonia Marching Band staff since 2017, and eventually became the assistant band director for the Nordonia Band in 2021. Vasquez then took the head director position in 2023 and this is his first consecutive year as the head director of the Nordonia Marching Band, and it has been amazing to watch his growth and process, especially in the past few months of being the head director. Vasquez, a graduate from the music education program at Kent State University in 2021, was the long-term substitute for Mary Schrembeck, the head middle school band director before interviewing for the position at Nordonia High School in the summer of 2021. 

Eric Vasquez has also made a great impact on the students in the band program, including two section leaders. Junior section leader Mark Pines has enjoyed watching the progression of the new era of the band program, and learning the ins and outs of the newly-developed routines that have developed since June of 2023, when Eric Vasquez took on the role of the head director at Nordonia High School. “This year has been quite different as a new show arrived, a new year was exciting. That excitement still holds up now, as we are putting on the show quicker than expected,” Pines told NordoniaHills.News, “As the past two years I have marched, the show wasn’t even close to being as finished as this year. Our brand new uniforms also came to add to the excitement as these are a new look after a long ten years of the old uniforms.” Mark Pines said, “Making states truly gave the band another wave of excitement; as it showed our hundreds of hours of work over the past two months have started to pay off.” 

Mark Pines is a member of the junior class at Nordonia High School, and has previously been a part of shows including Night Lights (2021) and Together (2022). He will finish his high school career in the band program as a baritone-saxophone player next year, his last season being fall of 2024. 

Senior flute player Izabela Fazio has also been impressed with the drive and determination from head director Eric Vasquez. Fazio had come into the band program during COVID-19, when the band was performing with masks on and people were being swooped in and out due to exposure to the virus. “In my four years in this program, I’ve never performed all four parts of our show at the first competition. First year head-band director Mr. Eric Vasquez, with his drive and determination, has set us up for continuous success,” Fazio told NordoniaHills.News, “Adding to that, new uniforms for the first time in 10 years were displayed at this competition and the football game the day prior. Excitement and joy was plastered on peers’ faces when we finally had them. Even after these two successes, we qualified for states in November at Medina High School. Celebration was in order when that was announced.” 

This is Izabela’s last season with the Nordonia Marching Band. She has previously performed Ring of Fire (2020), Night Lights (2021), and Together (2022). Fazio will graduate in May of 2024 with plans to attend college at the University of Kentucky for dentistry. It has been incredible to watch her grow within the program, as a Nordonia Marching Band alumna myself. 

As a community, we wish the band luck as their competition season has kicked off and we cannot wait to see all of their accomplishments in the upcoming months. It’s been awesome seeing the band grow and we wish them luck, be sure to catch the band’s performance of “A Day in Paris” at one of the remaining games this season.