Spirit of Jupiter marching band has historic past


SOJ marching band

Members of the SOJ color guard pose for a photo in the school courtyard.

The music reaches its final crescendo as the band and color guard catch their breath. The crowd cheers loudly as the highly-decorated marching band walks off the field, tears running down their faces. They’ll never perform this show again, but the experience they had will stick with them forever. 

In 1965, Jupiter High’s band started their very first marching season. The Spirit of Jupiter has had many names throughout the years. First known as the Jupiter High Marching Band, then the Marching Warriors, they finally adopted the name Spirit of Jupiter in 2007. 

In 2014, the marching show “One Tribe” was the first the marching band performed that won them a state championship. After their success, SOJ now goes to states every year for the Florida Marching Band Championships. 

The SOJ Marching Band leaves for this year’s state competition at FMBC in Ocala, Fla. on Nov. 19, and they perform on Nov. 21.

The band worked tirelessly for over six months to put their show together to perform at FMBC. 

“Our goal is to make a production that we not only feel emotionally, but everyone watching does too,” Zoie Kline, senior and head drum major, said. “And to have that feeling afterwards that you’ve accomplished something so amazing and so great, that you’ve made people stunned.”

Throughout Florida, the SOJ is well known for their elaborate performances and musical talent. 

“You really don’t realize how special and how prominent our school is until you go to other competitions and you see other people and you are wowed by yourself,” Kline said. “You are impressed with yourself, and you seem to stand up straighter and be proud of yourself.”

Kline has been a part of the program since her freshman year. She loves not only the competitions but also the sense of family the band provides for the new members. 

“When I saw the community and the family and the culture that surrounded the entire program, it made me really want to stay,” Kline said.

The band starts practicing in late May for the following school year, giving the incoming freshman a long time to get acquainted with new people. These incoming freshman have over 100 people they already know going into their first year of high school.

Because the band starts so early in the year, and FMBC isn’t until November, the standards are high for another successful season. Every time, the band places higher in a competition than they did the last time.

On Sept. 25, the SOJ had their very first competition of the 2021 season. They swept the table by placing first in all categories and first in their class. 

“We got first place with the highest score in the entire competition. That being said, that is our lowest standard now,” Kline said. “We have so much more to grow, we have so much more to add on to the show, we have more to improve on individually and as a whole unit.”`

Last year, they went through old boxes in the band room and found scrapbooks, posters from past FMBC competitions, yearbooks, pictures and letters from well-known composers. 

The band even found an old signed letter by Ronald Reagan that is now hanging on the wall outside of Ross’ office. 

“We have been known and recognized by sophisticated composers to have specific works created for us or to perform them and then sign those for us,” Kline said. 

John Williams, a famous composer who has done work for blockbuster films, including “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park” and “Schindler’s List,” wrote to a past Jupiter High band director saying how thankful he was for being able to come and teach a class. 

After the band had cleaned up their room, Ross was able to get in contact with JHS alumni who were in the SOJ marching band. 

“It kind of just spiraled into this big alumni outreach…We started with 50 alumni on a Facebook page, and now it’s up to almost 400 alumni,” Ross said. 

The Alumni Outreach Project has helped the marching band get in touch with past members, and some alumni have come back to the school to help direct the band as a tech. 

Alex Carassco was the brass band captain in 2019 during his senior year and is currently a staff member of the band. 

“I fell in love with the drive of the performers and previous staff, there really is nothing better than a staff that wants and pushes everyone to get better,” Carassco said. 

The drive of the band as well as of the staff is what pushes every band member to put on an intricate, crowd-pleasing, 10-minute performance and not get tired.

“Walking off that field knowing you did so well and you did your best, and then looking over to your peers, and seeing that they feel exactly the same way,” Kline said. “There’s no way to describe that feeling other than just being so proud, and happy and excited.”

Kline is proud of her ability to lead such an amazing and historical marching band. 

“It’s just a one of a kind feeling, that you try and aim for as many times as you can, because you know the last time that you have it is going to be something you’re going to miss,” Kline said.