The calm before the storm

Dallis Mullett, Staff Reporter

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The familiar drum cadence thunders from the amphitheater to the football stadium early each Friday night. The color-blocked uniforms, the stark white plumes against the sky, and the glitter of the dance team and colorguard’s pom-poms announce the Marching Cane’s arrival. Faint claps can be heard from the crowd, though the drumbeat drowns out most of it out as the they enter Kinnan Field. Once the Alma Mater and National Anthem are played, they play through the schools fight song and other pieces that are sure to lift the crowds spirits.

The football performances are divided into three sections: pre-game, halftime and the stand “tunes” played throughout the game. They all come together to create the show-stopping numbers that encapsulate the spirit of the school. However, by no means are these shows easy to direct or perform.

“I take around 8 to 10 hours outside school just writing drill for the music,” said John Schindler, the band director. “It takes up a good portion of my week at home.”

The students of the marching band sacrifice 6-7 hours of their week for rehearsals. While many members can find the long hours out in the sun tiring, they truly do pay off each Friday when they can show off everything they have gained.

Monday kicks off each series of weekly practices where specific sections of the band are called in. They start after school at 2:30 p.m and end at 3:30 p.m. The invited section goes off to practice where they are assigned individual practice rooms to run through the music. These practices are called to have each student focus on themselves as opposed to rehearsing with the whole band, with their specific needs becoming the main priority.

Starting at 5:30 p.m sharp, each Tuesday and Thursday night the band, along with the dance team and newly established color guard, run through each individual set of the drill, or marching, for each part of the performance. These rehearsals usually start off with a run-through of the pre-game routine, where the band begins in the courtyard and marches out to the field before the football players are released. A steady beat from the drumline keeps everyone in line as they round the practice field around the track, just to repeat it on the true field Friday night. The dancers and color guard join them as they go through halftime, though they will occasionally split off to focus on their own routines for the rest of the night.

“I usually feel exhausted, but definitely confident,” said colorguard co-captain Gisela Centeno, when describing the weekly rehearsals. “I was glad I was put into a leadership position because I wanted to be a role model for the team each night.”

If dismissed inside, the end of the band rehearsal focuses on the musical aspect of the show while the dance and guard continue to run their routines on the field or in the dance room.

Once Friday rolls around, its showtime before the school day officially starts. The band meets at 7:00 a.m on Friday to get ready and head to the courtyard for their weekly pep-rally performance, bringing some spirit and energy to the usually sluggish mornings.

“Our drum major and some of the band came up to me, it was their idea,” said Schindler. “They saw another school doing it and liked the idea.”

Then, call time at 5:00 p.m.; the band, dance team and color guard all meet on the practice field behind the school and run through their show. After around an hour of practice, they return inside to cool down and change into uniforms before being called to the courtyard and marching out at 7:00 p.m to display  everything they have learned that week onto the field.

All in all, the long hours, frustrating rehearsals and sometimes even more frustrating fellow band members can drive people to the edge. Each minute of practice that week indeed show that once halftime begins and the lights bounce off the dance teams props, the color guard flags soar up and up and the instruments ring out a familiar sound that dazzles the crowd.

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  • 5,6,7,8: At an afterschool rehersal, the colorguard co-captians teach the other members how to preform their swing flag routine. This is their second routine out of the three that will be included in the halftime show.

  • That Beautiful Sound: As the sun sets on the track field, the band practices their marching and playing to their soon-to-be-preformed show music. So far they have only preformed "September" on Friday nights.

  • Showtime: Before the game on Friday night, the band gets into unifom and gathers their instruments to be put into the trailer. After an hour of rehersal, it is game time and they are on the field.

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