On beat with the band

On beat with the band

Marching band is the largest school organization, and it ranks highly as one of the most recognized because of the many competitions they perform in and the awards they receive. Being a marcher can be demanding and strenuous due to the demanding hours of practice both on and off the field, but with dedication and pride, many in the program have noted it is a fun and worthwhile experience.

The marching band is comprised of a woodwind, brass, percussion, and a string section; however, at the end of the day it is made up of kids just like anyone else, filled with hopes, aspirations, fears, and flaws. Marching band is so much more than a group; it’s truly a family.

George Schlotzhauer is a Sophomore and baritone player who, like many other students, was drawn to marching band by its sense of friendliness, and his passion for playing music.

“I knew a lot of people who said they really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun doing it, which really had a positive influence on me to join marching band, and it just seemed like a good thing to do,” Schlotzhauer said.

The always-enthusiastic students are led by drum majors and section leaders, who are elected from among their peers on basis of their musical and leadership skills.

Allie McLaughlin is a senior, trombone player, four-year veteran, and one of the three drum majors for the marching band. McLaughlin is a strong believer in the marching band program and is also a member of other school band programs, such as the jazz band. McLaughlin, who once was very against staying in the band program, had a change of heart after her experience in marching band.

“I fell in love with it to be honest. Before high school I was in the middle school band, and I promised myself that I’d just do one year [of band] to get my fine arts credit out of the way and then I would quit,” McLaughlin said. “Then I went to summer marching camp and I met people, I started liking these people; they became my friends, and then they became more than that: they became my family. There is such a sense of family that I feel obligated to be there for them.”

At the head of the band is Mr. Nathan Griffin, director of the bands, who has taught students from all walks of life for eight years now, and he loves it just as much as the kids. A former marching band member himself, Mr. Griffin said that being a member of the marching band is beneficial.

“It teaches you life lessons, such as time management, how to deal with conflicts and collaborations, teamwork, dedication and commitment. What we talk about in our program is the 4 Cs: commitment, control, community, and class. This tells us how we are going to represent ourselves when we go out on the field, whether it be in a rehearsal, on the bus traveling, or at a different school competing,” Mr.Griffin said.

Not only does Mr. Griffin believe being a member of marching band improves oneself mentally, but it improves oneself in the physical aspect as well.

“We cut them [the band member’s body in half], the bottom half being the athletic part of what we do, and the upper half is the more artistic part,” Mr. Griffin said. “In marching band, they’re moving at different tempos, running during the summer, doing push-ups, and doing all different things to get their bodies ready for this athletic event. On top of that they’ve got the artistry: there’s dance, there’s motion, as well as actually playing their instrument while they’re on the move.”

The most important part of a high functioning marching band is its students. They are the heart and body of the entire program and without students interested in marching band then it would simply die off.

Gabrielle Ransom, a freshman and a tenor saxophone player in the marching band, is a prime example of a student who is a prime example of positivity.

“In band you make friends so quickly. You go to band camp over the summer you’ll find that everyone is so helpful and they want you to be there,” Ransom said.

The marching band is made up of some the school’s most talented and most dedicated students, and led by a equally talented and dedicated director, and for students like McLaughlin, Schlotzhauer, and Ransom, the marching band has shown it can change minds and change people for the better, which is a quality enjoyed by all those who participate in the program.