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Hickman High Marching Band Fills in for Marching Mizzou at Faurot Field

Nate Brown, KBIA

It’s Tuesday night at Alumni Stadium on North Providence Road, and the Hickman High School Marching Band is rehearsing for Saturday’s Missouri football game at Faurot Field against Southeast Missouri State University.

The Hickman band is filling in for Marching Mizzou, which will be in Jefferson City at the invitation of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. Marching Mizzou is performing in the bicentennial parade Saturday morning in the state capital.

“It’s a historic invitation directly from Governor Parson to be a part of the history of the state of Missouri and help celebrate the 200th anniversary of our great state,” said Dr. Amy Knopps, associate director of bands and director of athletic bands at the School of Music at Mizzou. “And to represent, of course, the flagship institution as the University of Missouri.”

“So it’s deeply meaningful to us and is something that’ll be forever part of our history of Marching Mizzou,” Knopps said.

So when your band is going miss part of a home football game, you call on one of the top high school bands in the state to take your place.

“We’re honored to be able to perform for MU and we hope that we represent Hickman really well and that the MU fans enjoy our performance,” said Denis Swope, director of bands at Hickman High.

Swope said he and his staff are preparing their charges for a performance for an estimated crowd of 50,000. That’s a few more than the usual attendance at a Hickman game on a Friday night.

“We will be performing our competition half-time show during pregame, in addition to the national anthem, and then “Fight Tigers” for the tunnel, for the players to run through,” said Swope. “We’ll play during the game in the stands, and then a few little snippets during halftime.”

The Hickman marching band is the reigning champions of the University of Missouri Champion of Champions Marching Festival. Swope said that’s one of the reasons they were chosen to play in place of Marching Mizzou.

Knopps attended Tuesday night’s rehearsal and thanked the high school students for their hard work in preparing for Saturday’s game.

“Many hands are involved in this hard work for Saturday, so thank you to your director. Thank you to your other faculty and staff. Of course, your community here, your family members, but thanks to you for this extra push, this extra hard work and this extra dedication. We’re so excited and we’re just looking forward to your performance on Saturday. So go Tigers, go Kewpies, go Tigers!,” Knopps told the Hickman students.

Marching Mizzou’s director said Saturday’s performance will give these students a front row seat to what it’s like to be a member of Marching Mizzou on game day.

“We hope that translates to their graduates attending the University of Missouri and then, of course, joining Marching Mizzou,” she said.

Hickman High senior and drum major Abby Oreskovich is pumped for Saturday’s performance.

“I am so excited,” she said. “I just can’t wait to show the world what we got.

“I think that our band is really good. I’m not biased or anything,” she said with a laugh. “No, I do think it’s a really cool organization to be a part of and I think that we have a lot to offer as far as marching bands go.”

For Oreskovich, Saturday’s performance will be a test run of sorts. She plans to attend Mizzou next year, majoring in French horn performance and anthropology. Will she be a member of Marching Mizzou?

“I absolutely will be,” she said.

The bicentennial parade in Jefferson City begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. Mizzou’s home football game against Southeast Missouri State University begins at 11 a.m.

Nate Brown is reporter and producer for KBIA, and a "rising senior" in Mizzou's J-School.