New marching middle schoolers

Eighth graders try marching band for the first time.

Eighth+grade+band+joins+Spartan+Regiment+for+Light+the+Field+football+game+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+13.

Abby Turner

Eighth grade band joins Spartan Regiment for Light the Field football game on Friday, Sept. 13.

Last Friday, September 13, the Francis Howell Central Spartan Regiment had its annual eighth grade night welcoming potential future members the chance to play with the band. The eighth graders came from several middle schools across the district such as Hollenbeck, Saeger, and Bryan as well as several private schools. For many of these students, this night is the main influence on their decision to join marching band in high school. 

At Friday night’s football game the eighth graders, who are involved in band at their respective middle schools, proceeded to march down with FHC’s band and perform pep songs with them throughout the night. Additionally, a new experience was added to eighth grade night as well. One lucky eighth grader’s name was drawn out of a hat by the Saeger band director Mrs. Shannon Crepps to be an honorary drum major for one song. This eighth grader happened to be Saeger student Palladium Liang. Junior Gretchen Wood explained how this situation worked in the band’s favor.

“He seemed really excited to be up there and I think it was good for him to experience that and to maybe get a feel of what marching band would be like.” Wood stated.

The excitement was not limited to just one eighth grader. Wood later explains there was excitement that existed within all of the potential new members.

“The kids seemed really excited,” Wood said. “All of the ones I talked to seemed really happy to be there with us and couldn’t wait for the next time to be with us.”

This night was also beneficial in the sense that it gave the eighth graders an idea of what marching band is really like in terms of the amount of work they will need to put in. For instance, while getting to know the current members of the Spartan Regiment, they also got to see some of the challenges of being in marching band. Junior Alyssa Winkler believes that this is a true benefit of eighth grade night.

“8th grade night is definitely useful for the middle schoolers because it helps them decide if they truly want to do marching band and if they’re up for the challenges,” Winkler stated.

According to most current members, this method of gaining new members has worked well. Many of them fondly recall their experience as eighth graders many years ago at their eighth grade. Junior Ben Freeman mentions his experience and how it influenced him to join band the following year.

“I remember going my eighth grade year and having a lot of fun,” Freeman reports. “I think [eighth grade night] really helps show kids what marching band is all about.” 

Most members, such as Wood, would agree that eighth grade night works in recruiting new members as well. 

“I think it convinced a lot of kids to join regiment. A lot of the kids I spoke to seemed really excited about the year coming and I’m really hoping they join next year.” Wood stated.

Winkler also believes that many of the eighth graders who participated in the event will now join next year.

“Before 8th grade night I asked if some of the middle schoolers were thinking of doing marching band and they said they might,” Winkler said. “But after 8th grade night, lots of the middle schoolers loved the environment at the football game and they said they would do marching band.”