Behind the Band: What Goes Into a Marching Show

A view from behind a sousaphone player in shows a reflection of the Timber Creek High School Band. (Photo by The Creek Yearbook photographer Josh Haynes)
A view from behind a sousaphone player in shows a reflection of the Timber Creek High School Band. (Photo by The Creek Yearbook photographer Josh Haynes)

Behind every band kid that plays two-minute stand tunes during pep rallies or cadences in front of The Nest is a rehearsal that lasts for two to eight hours under the sun, high-level concentration to make sure they’re correctly doing what is asked of them, call times that required everybody to be ready before the sun even rose, a hundred reps, a mental checklist with all the things they would need for a football game, another hundred reps and many more — things that the audience won’t ever think about as they sit and watch a halftime show.

Easily one of the largest organizations in the school with over 200 members, the Timber Creek Marching Band has been out on the parking lot almost every single day since July 30 to prepare for halftime performances and competitions. The staff announced the name of this year’s show, “Who Has Seen the Wind,”  on May 14, 2015 along with the big news that they will be competing in Bands of America which will be held in Arlington on Oct. 10 and in Missouri on Oct. 17. This will be Timber Creek’s first time joining BOA. Since then, everyone’s been working to prepare for what has yet to come.

 

 

The band learned how to take one step during the first two days of summer camp; this sounds idle, but it’s astonishing how much depends on that first step, almost like how much depends on a first impression. Just by observing someone’s first step, one can already tell how well that person is  going to perform.

Everything the band does, they have to do again at least one more time.

“It practically is re-learning how to walk,” sophomore trumpet player Brendan Chucci said. “It was dreadful because it was constant ‘stop, restart, do this, do that’ all for one step, but helpful because it helped us develop and master a technique that we use all of marching band.”

Along came the three-a-days once August hit. The whole band practiced from 9-11 a.m., 1-4 p.m., and then 6-8 on most days for two weeks. Some say that the two-hour breaks don’t make these days that enervating. Besides giving them time to recharge and mentally prepare, these breaks gave the freshmen a chance to explore the school so that their first day won’t become too overwhelming.

With a football game on the first Thursday of school, a halftime show needed to be put together. Fortunately, these three-a-day rehearsals helped the band go from taking first steps to marching at least a few sets, spelling out the words “Timber”, “Creek” and “Falcons”. Of course this was easy for the upperclassmen who have been playing the fight song for years now, but not so much for the new members who had to memorize new music and play it on the move — not to mention that they had to adjust and get used to the band’s schedule as well.

“Band takes up most of my schedule, and by the time I get home, I just have time to eat, hardly spend time with my family and do homework,” freshman flute player Joe Trenton said.

Students were ready to leave after the dismissal bell rang on the first day of school, even the members of the band. Surprise, surprise, however; they had to stay for another two hours outside, learning drill to their competition show. The call time was 4:15, but drum majors Benton Westbrook, Julia McGillick, Aatmun Baxi and Kacie Carlson were already setting up at 3:50, ready to start the band’s daily dose of stretch routines. It may seem as if all the drum majors do is just stand on a podium in their special uniforms and basically be a part-time dictator, but they actually have the most responsibilities. These include making copies of all the music, running the metronome all throughout rehearsal, and making sure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing.

“Being drum major teaches me a lot of the skills I will need in my future profession that school could never teach me, things like leadership and confidence,” Westbrook said.

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As for the seniors of the band who have chosen to spend all four of their high school years doing such a laborious activity, the halftime show at the football game against Keller Central High School on Nov. 5 may be their last marching performance ever. Whether making music is something that they see themselves doing in the future or not, the graduating members such as center snare drummer Jon Hankins think that marching band has played a significant role in their high school experience.

“I stayed in band because music is something I love,” said Hankins. “Drumming gives me the motivation to do well in school so that I can perform at games and competitions, and it only makes sense to have a motivational tool to push me through senior year. Band has taught me that I cannot prosper on my own; I need the combined effort of my close friends to truly make something worthwhile.”

Some also shared why they made a commitment to something this enormous.

“It’s a really good way to keep friends; leaving would mean that I have to work at finding friends,” saxophone player Mason Chavez said.

“The hours we put in pay off at the end whenever we go to competitions,” trumpet player Tavin Stewart said.

“Knowing that you’re able to do something that you probably didn’t think you’d be able to do before when you were a freshman is really cool,” flute player Maddie Anderson said.

“Being part of a group and performing with other people that you can bond with made it worth it,” mellophone player Madison Shrader said.

“Knowing I was going to be a part of something bigger than myself and being a part of a group where everyone pushes each other to be better…because in band you’re only as good as your weakest person, and those things were just so appealing to me,” color guard member Hannah Krogsgaard said. “Being in color guard or band has changed me more as a person than anything else has, and if something impacted your life like that, why would you leave it?”

The growing organization has faced several changes over the past few years, but if there’s one thing that has been persistent, it is this: behind every band kid are things that are undoubtedly more than just playing notes on a page or hyping up student sections. What you’ve heard and seen from the band once is something that they’ve rehearsed a hundred times. From entering the field to exiting it, they are always performing.

The Timber Creek High School band will perform their marching show during the Keller ISD Marching Expo on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. More information here.

Arielle Bautista

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Arielle Bautista is a senior at Timber Creek and is the Fine Arts Editor of the Talon.