McCracken’s Unforgettable Memories with the Band


Kelsey Gilliatt- McCraken is a girl of multiple talents. While juggling school work, McCraken also participates in marching band. She has been a part of Pride of Paoli for six years, and played the clarinet two before that.

“I enjoy marching band because it’s taught me how to be a leader, nicer person and work well with others,” said McCraken.

According to McCraken, marching band definitely has had its perks; considering over the course of her marching band career, she has been to Lucas Oil Stadium ten times, New York twice and walked in a Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Her favorite part of marching band is the new people from other schools she meets while at competitions. There  is one friend who has been through it all with McCraken. Best friend and classmate Slyvia Coe shares what she thinks.

“Kelsey’s honesty and humor has stuck out to me. She is an amazing leader and knows when to have fun and when to be serious. She leads by example,” said Coe.

During the marching band season, it is clear the audience only views the performance, not what goes on behind the scenes and in preparation. Preparation consists of many hours during the summer, week night practices during the school year, consecutive amounts of push-ups and lap running and long bus rides. McCraken adds to what she has witnessed and personally experienced.

“I have seen people pass out, fight and cry. I’ve gotten sick, overheated and yelled at harshly,” said McCraken.

However, it can get pretty rough. McCraken always has her memories and band acquaintances to bring her back up. These memories include producing their personal band video, sitting in stain causing gum, eating weird food combinations and listening to music while singing and dancing on bus rides.

“Kelsey has some awesome dance moves, no joke,” said Coe.

McCraken will continue to make unforgettable memories but is unsure if she will continue to affiliate with marching band.

“I’ll probably play a little in college, but not in a group or program. As I get older, I feel like I don’t have time for it. Sure, I enjoy it, but it’s not a career path that I’m going for,” said McCraken.

When the school year comes to an end, McCraken will take her new knowledge of music, leadership skills, some dreadful memories and some treasured memories with her.

Story by Caitlyn Cornwell, Photos by Breanna Daughety, Mug by Morgan Dotts