Marching into the Fall Season

Kaylee McMillan, Staff Writer

Flutists in the marching band performed at halftime of the Mack Plaque game against crosstown rivals, the Londonderry Lancers. (Timothy Cain)

It’s Friday Night Lights at Memorial Field. The fluorescent street lights poorly illuminate the blur of red and white jerseys running across the football field. All that can be heard is the deafening sound of peers chanting and cheering for their players, and the marching band playing a lively tune of “Raise Your Glass.” With the sunlight slowly leaving the sky, the familiar sound of drums and trumpets, spirit chants and good friends add together to create the ambiance of a high school football game.

Long before the excitement and cheers, the marching band has worked for months to prepare for the marching season. 

Band Camp

Each band member has everyday practices at school, takes time to perfect a piece at home, and participates in the carefully orchestrated “band camp” that occurs a few weeks before the start of school. Students learn countless drill sheets, music sets, and work on creating school spirit to pump up the crowd and lead the fans in various chants and cheers. The work that is put into band camp is evident as they light up the football field with their halftime performance at each football game.

“The two biggest components of marching season,” said senior section leader Jackson Crawford, “is the band – our music, and then the marching aspect, which Mr. Boccia, our band director, draws out different shows and sets (formations on the field).”

The commitment level of each band member puts in to practice a piece and memorize a drill sheet is vital for the success of each particular halftime show. 

Practices and Rehearsal

Each member has an allotted time in their schedules to practice their music as a whole. This is usually a block just like a regular class such as math or science. Students dedicate time daily to aid in the success of the halftime show and present school spirit to the fans. 

During marching season, every Tuesday after school, the whole band has a field rehearsal where they go over songs and formations on the football field, perfecting their intricate routine. 

The unity of each section of the band is important to allow the audience to feel school spirit and be filled with energy through their music and performance. Senior drum major Sydney Pelletier explains the importance of these practices.

 “We work harder and become more passionate for music after each rehearsal and each show,” said Pelletier.

Competition

Although the marching band hypes up the crowds and is a vital part of Friday night football games, each member works hardest for the ultimate presentation of their music and the highlight of the fall season at The Salem Band Show. 

This show is the biggest performance of the year. It is a battle between schools, much like a typical sports team competition. Each high school band gets a chance to present their halftime show to judges who score the teams with expertise.

This time of year the band room is buzzing with excitement and preparation for the Salem Band Show. Each year the band wows the audience with entertaining music. 

“The Salem Band Show is what we like to call our best show,” Crawford said.  “Going back and watching those old performances … it gives you chills!”

Although the members work hard to do well on the field and make their team proud, the real reward is within each individual band member. Sophomore Jamie Disalvo explains, “I think the feeling after you know that you did good out on the field, that’s what we do it for.” 

Aftermath

At the end of the competition last Saturday, the members of the marching band beamed with pride as they exited the field with drumline playing a triumphant beat.

“The band coming together on one field and playing their hearts out was such a significant moment for me,” said Pelletier.. “They are my family and I was so proud to see every single member with smiling faces and a determined glint in their eye. Even if Salem wasn’t our best show, the effort and love for music can be seen in every single person.”