Bandettes is not a large corps. Yet, the organization has five members who, between them, have a total of 39 years of service to the corps. It's difficult in large corps to find that many members with around eight years experience each. In a small Division III corps of just 32 members, with an average age of 15 1/2, it's downright remarkable.
Members of the corps know this group as the "High Fives." Members consist of Sandy Howe (aging out after 10 years), Jessica Lavallee (8 years), Erin Weigle (8 years), Joelle Nadeau (7 years) and Crystal Tait (6 years). According to the group, they hang around with each other on tour and at home. Each claims to be inseparable. Sandy remembers, "Erin and I have been best friends since third grade and we came to the corps at the same time. [Erin took two years off.] We've all known each other since we were kids, but it's only been the past four years that we realized we had something special and we bonded, knowing we would all be together until each of us aged out... and beyond. I expect this to be a life-long thing." Jessica chimes in, "My mom teaches the horn line and all four of her sisters marched in the corps. The experiences we've had make it hard to not be as close as we are. Bandettes is a big family. We do stuff together like fund raising, practicing during the winter, and even just hanging out." Erin adds, "We've all known each other since we were about ten, as the younger ones were in the junior corps while the rest of us were in the senior corps. As we grew older, we grew closer. Throughout high school, we hung together with the same group of friends, helping each other through the teenage years." Joelle says, "My mom marched Bandettes in the 1960s and was friends with Jessica's mom. She now directs the Bandettes Jr. Corps. I was always around the corps and grew into the family we all are." Crystal proclaims, "As an only child, I never had siblings to bond with. So when I came to the corps, these girls pretty much became my siblings. Now, in this great year, we can say that we've cried together, laughed together, and shared everything together."
A picture of the High Fives