‘Shine for Him on the field’: West Point’s Sierra Cranford enjoying band season

West Point’s Sierra Cranford. (Courtesy of Sierra Cranford)

WEST POINT, Ala. — West Point junior Sierra Cranford is heading into her third year as a majorette in the Warrior band and has had a blast doing it. She feels so blessed to be around some great people and has tried to learn as much as she can from all of them.

“Being in the band has been great. It’s been so much fun. It has taught me to push myself to work hard to achieve my goals, not just in twirling, but in everyday life. I have learned from band members, past and present, what makes a good teammate and a good leader,” Cranford said. “I have enjoyed it so much. It’s been really amazing to follow in the footsteps of some fantastic people, such as two of our majorette line’s former teammates, Anna Armstrong and Jordan Shelton, not to mention other great band members of the auxiliary and the band. I have made life-long friendships with the members of the band, especially the auxiliary, because we work so close together and have become so tight-knit.”

Sierra has learned so much from this experience and from last year’s seniors.

“I have learned the importance of trying your best and how much you can accomplish when working together. Sometimes when you feel like you have failed, there is people around to lift you up and encourage you. You should make sure to go out of your way to encourage and lift others up as well. Teamwork is the key to success”, Cranford said. “The seniors last year were very talented. They were great, because they played in a big part in building the band back up. They went through several changes, so I’m proud that they stuck it out and had great attitudes about being in the band. You could definitely tell that they genuinely wanted to be there and was excited about it.”

She added,

“I learned that you can have fun, but also, when it’s time to be serious about what you’re doing, you are serious. They taught us how to achieve our goals and have good connections with others, while still having fun in the process. They also taught me to come out of my shell. I have always been really shy and they helped me with that. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have been honored with my leadership position.”

She has also learned some things from this year’s seniors as well.

“This year’s seniors have been amazing. They began band in middle school and are great about helping others. Many of the seniors I know started the year that I started. They were great about learning quickly and also became good leaders. I have definitely learned what it takes to be a kind person. Many of them have stopped in the hallway just to say hello. On the field, I’ve learned to work hard and treat others with respect.”

Sierra has soaked up as much as she can from band director, Thad Walker.

“During my first year on the majorette line, Mr. Walker came in with a vision of the potential of what the West Point Band could achieve. He has made great strides in making that vision come to life. In the short time he has been here, he has doubled the size of our band. He will also listen to any questions or concerns any band member might have. He makes me feel like a part of the band. He is good about not just being a teacher, but also knowing his students and co-workers,” she said. “I have learned the importance of setting your goals and going for them. When he first came, he had a vision and has already succeeded in making that vision come to life.”

She will be going into her first year as the captain and was shocked, but blessed, when she first got the news. She’s gotten a lot of help from her fellow bandmates and has learned a few things since getting named captain.

“I was so shocked when I found out. I was very honored to be named captain. It honestly feels a little strange, because this is my first leadership position ever. I am used to working under people, but my teammates have been so supportive in helping me find my voice,” she said. “I learned how hard you have to work to get this far. I have also learned how to be decisive and strong-willed.”

Sierra talked about how much she has improved over the past couple of years and will continue to work on some things before band season gets started.

“My first year, I found myself behind in my twirling skills, but my teammates made an effort to help me learn the routines fast and new tricks. Over the last couple of years, I can watch videos and see how much improvement I really have had. People around me have told me that what makes me stand out is my ability to try any trick that is asked of me,” she said. “I will always continue to work on my leadership skills and my twirling technique. I will also work on being kind to my teammates in any situation. Lastly, I will work on teaching my teammates to love God and shine for Him on the field.”

She talked about the goals for this upcoming season, and she thinks this band season will be a very special one for West Point.

“We have four new girls on the majorette line. In my past year, we’ve had a small line, so one team goal I have is to make sure we are always in sync. This can get tricky with six girls on a team. My other team goals are to score all one’s at our band competitions and to most importantly, have fun,” Cranford said. “My individual goals are to grow as a person and as a leader, as well as improving my twirling skills and learn new things that can potentially help me be able to try out for a college line in the future.”

She added,

“We have a great show picked out by our band director. It will show how far the West Point band has come. Also, the auxiliary routines will really complement the music. The most special thing that everyone will see is the excitement and happiness in the band’s faces as they performed a fantastic show.”

Sierra talked about her role models and the best advice that someone ever gave her.

“I look up to anyone that shows wonderful leadership and great passion in the band, especially students who are hardworking and kind on and off the field. Luckily, as far as the West Point band, that is many of the members,” she said. “Shortly after I was named captain, I messaged one of my former captains and asked her for any tips she might have had for me. She gave me the best advice by saying, ‘Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need some advice or assistance’. I thought about that and realized how much asking for assistance has helped me in baton and outside of it. In twirling, asking for assistance is what has helped me improve my skills. Also, praying and asking God for assistance has helped me in everything I have done.”

Sierra talked about what she will be looking forward to the most this upcoming season.

“In the upcoming season, I am looking forward to spending time with my teammates, seeing improvement in our band, and most importantly, performing on the field.”

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