Let the drum roll begin

AHS Pep Band chosen to play at 2024 IHSA State Volleyball Tournament

By Brandon LaChance, Editor
Posted 2/13/24

AMBOY – There has been a lot of success surrounding Amboy High School as of late.

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Let the drum roll begin

AHS Pep Band chosen to play at 2024 IHSA State Volleyball Tournament


AMBOY – There has been a lot of success surrounding Amboy High School as of late.

The football team won the Illinois 8-Man Football Association championship. The girls basketball team is playing for a regional title. Electric buses are in the bus garage. The FFA has been to state.

And now the AHS Pep Band is taking their opportunity for a state experience as it has been chosen to play at the 2024 IHSA Volleyball State Tournament in November.

“I’m very proud. About five years ago a group of students came up with “Pride, Perfection, Entertainment” as our motto and I’ve kind of had that in the back of my head since then,” said AHS Band Director Travis Kemmerer, who has been with the program for six years. “The current band has really strived for it. I feel like they’ve really took what was built for them as a foundation and have run with it.

“I’m super proud as a director, but also as a AHS graduate (2007) and a former member of the band (trombone player). The kids deserve it. They work their butts off during marching season and pep band. The deserve the recognition.”

Senior Rylyn Karrow will be graduated come November and will not play at the state tournament.

However, she is just as proud to be part of the process of the pep band receiving the recognition.

“Every year we come into the band knowing what we’re doing, but as we continue to play everyone gets more into it,” said Karrow, who plays the clarinet. “We get more involved. Everyone in our band wants to be the best that they can. This year was the most I’ve seen it. The freshman class put in a lot of hard work to help us all improve. As a band, we improved this year and didn’t fall back. It was really cool to see.

“We work hard. There are a lot of hours put in with practices, all of the concerts, games, and there are more performances. After my class is gone, I think the band will continue to improve. Hopefully Mr. Kemmerer can keep it together.”

Junior tenor saxophone player Natalie Pratt is happy the Amboy band is on the map.

She knows honor of playing at the tournament gives the pep band the opportunity to showcase its talent at the state level and to bring more local awareness.

“It’s really nice to receive recognition for the pep band stuff we do at Amboy High School and for more people to see us,” Pratt said. “It’s going to be nice to get recognition from the state and our school to show what we really do and that we’re not just a high school pep band.

“You have to put in extra work. If you’re going to be good at practice, you have to practice outside of the gym. It’s the same for band. If there is something tricky in your music, you have to work on it by yourself as well as in practice. Mr. Kemmerer can’t help us with everything. Sometimes we have to figure it out on our own.

“If we don’t practice outside of practice, we wouldn’t have been chosen for the state volleyball tournament.”

When asked which songs are their favorite, there is a variety of answers since Kemmerer likes to have variety in his song book.

Pratt enjoys “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, Rylyn’s favorite is “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, and Kemmerer keeps it nostalgic with “Gospel John” which he played when he was in band.

The pep band started the year with 15 songs in its repertoire and has expanded to 28 options.

The high school band director gives credit to the directors at Amboy Junior High, Avery Kerley, who has taken his band to state the last two years, and Central Elementary School, Amy Schwamberger.

“I’d like to have a banner in the gym that has all of the years that the band has went to state. I think that would be cool,” Kemmerer said. “I’m looking forward to see if we can get a green sign on the edge of town to brag about it. I think the community really likes the band. I get a lot of compliments.

“I often tell them, ‘Tell the kids, don’t tell me. They’re the ones who put in the work. I just waive my arms some times.’”