Band students reflect on leadership roles

As Strath Haven Marching Band nears the end of the season, student leadership members reflect on their experiences.


Matthew Chen

Junior section leader Aiden Gold and senior student director Jess Farhat do their “fun run” onto the field before the half time show on October 21.

Jillian Thomas '24, Sports Editor

If there is one thing that Marching Band Director Mr. Nick Pignataro cultivates in his leadership of the band, it’s dedication. With over 90 titled student leadership positions and a detailed flow chart of roles and responsibilities, the band’s leadership roles carry high expectations.

Student Director Will Shore said he decided to apply for a leadership role so he could make the band better.

“I really give 100% of my effort to making the band better for the community and for the school,” he said. “And I thought that was really important.” 

Student Director Georgia Gianopulos was inspired by the positive relationships between the student leaders and their team members. 

“Junior year was honestly very hard for me. We were learning these dances and everyone was picking them up super-duper fast,” she said. “I just couldn’t pick up the specific dance moves right away. And I just remember going to Avery Cavanagh who was also a student director and being like, hey, I feel this way, is there any way I can just, like, chill with you for a little bit? And she made me feel so welcome.” 

In one of the largest bands in the state, Tenor Saxophone Section Leader Aiden Gold is adamant that the best part of band is the community.

“It’s not just me hanging out with juniors as a junior or me hanging out with sophomores as a sophomore,” Gold said. “I have sophomores in my section, I have a senior in my section…even throughout the entire band, hanging out with other sections, it’s more than just juniors.”

Despite its community, band also presents challenges, and the student leadership recognizes this. 

“I feel like I personally really, really struggled with not being able to please everyone,” Gianopulos said. “Only kind of like this month, I have to come to terms with accepting that.”

Gold’s biggest struggle was the after-game commitments of being on leadership. 

“The leadership meetings last year, those went on awhile,” he said. “Like, 10:30 at night and I just wanted to get home after.”

The fact that the band is so large can often be challenging, but it also lends itself to creating a different kind of leadership experience. According to Shore, the structure of the leadership positions helps to make the experience manageable. 

“You don’t have to individually tell hundreds of people what to do,” he said. “But you get to rely on the leaders around you, which is why it’s so important to really want to make the band a better place when you’re a leader,” Shore said. 

With experience comes wisdom, and all three leaders have advice to share with the next generation of leadership members. 

Gianopulos urges underclassmen to apply for leadership positions. “I would say, definitely go for it. But also know what a leadership role entails,” she said. “Know that you can’t please everybody, as I’ve definitely figured out. Do what the band director says. Because otherwise you will get yelled at. And take responsibility.”

“Get to know Mr. P., which is kind of a harder thing to do, but don’t be known for being bad at something,” Gold said. “Be known for helping out…that’ll put your name in his mind…so even after you get the leadership position it’s easier to be in control, easier to make people listen to you.”

“Be dedicated,” Shore said. “You really don’t want to have the reason for being a leader because it looks good on college applications. You want to actually be changing something.”