BRITT | Two years ago the West Hancock High School Band only had 18 members

Last year that number grew to 28. This year 41 students are in the band.

Jennifer Rosin, who has been the 5-12 instrumental music teacher at West Hancock since the 2015-16 school year, said one of her favorite parts of her job is watching the pride in the program grow, not just within the band itself but also within the school and community.

"It makes me burst with pride for my students when I hear compliments from the community about the different events the band takes place in," she said.

The band students work hard and don't get any breaks throughout the school year, so "I love when they are recognized and appreciated for the many hours they put in," Rosin said.

In the spring of 2016, the band got a Division I rating for the first time in a very long time at the State Large Group Music Festival. 

"The kids were so excited," Rosin said.

This spring, the band not only got a Division I rating at state, but also received a perfect score from one of the judges.

Many West Hancock students have also received Division I ratings at the state solo/ensemble contest over the course of the last two years, Rosin said.

In June, the band went to St. Louis, its first trip in years. They performed at Six Flags and saw the sights.

The main focus for the high school program is concert band. 

The band marches in parades, but plays from the track only during halftime of home football games. They don't wear full uniforms, but are dressed in band pullovers on those evenings.

Although the band doesn't do much marching, "we have a lot of fun with pep band," said junior Makayla Holland.

Junior Jade Oberhelman said they learn a lot of pop songs to play at football and basketball games. 

"Mrs. Rosin always finds really fun songs for us to learn," she said.

Some of the songs they play during pep band are "Shout It Out," "Just Dance," "Bad Romance," "Crazy Train," "Smoke on the Water" and "YMCA."

Band isn't like other classes, according to Holland.

"It's like a place to get away," she said, noting it's more relaxed and laid-back.

"We are learning stuff but it's stuff you want to learn," Oberhelman said.

Junior Jacob Hlavacek said he likes that band is all "hands-on"  except for the semester test.

He also said it's fun to get together with others who also have a talent for music.

Oberhelman said her goals for the band are "that we all keep working hard and continue to get Division I ratings and continue having fun."

The students also hope the band continues to grow.

Holland said she's currently the only oboe player in the band and would like to have more people playing that instrument.

Another goal is to raise money for new equipment and a bigger band room, Hlavacek said.

Rosin said the program has been growing so quickly that they are running out of space in the current band room.

She said being the band teacher for grades 5-12 helps provide continuity as students progress through school.

"I love my students," Rosin said. "They all know that when they walk through the door of the band room, they become one of 'my kids.'

The feeling is mutual.

"I love Mrs. Rosin," Oberhelman said.