Marching Through the Season

As the football team leaves, the band stars take the field.

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As the marching band recedes back to the sidelines after their halftime show, a small group stays behind to carry on the show. The shouts of the student section become overpowering as they get ready to play. They hold back smiles, their poker faces complete with sunglasses. They slip into a seamless rhythm they’ve spent months upon perfecting. About seven percussionists take their turn stepping forward and giving a short impromptu performance. For most, this would be a nerve racking experience, but for these seasoned veterans, it’s just another Friday night under the lights.

The stick tricks and energy present in drumline performances often distracts from the work that goes on behind the scenes to develop the team. Each year, the band directors choose a theme for the marching show. This season they chose a movie theme, their main songs being from The Incredibles and The Greatest Showman. Cadences, however, are chosen by drumline. Their best hit being “JIG 2.”

“We kind of just google [cadences] and find cool videos, and then throw them together. It’s really whatever we think is cool,” said Emma Miller ’19, a tenor drummer and head of drumline.

Emma Miller

Drumline meets during first period in the band room to practice cadences and marching songs. The support from the student section encourages them to strive for enjoyable performances.

Annabel Hendrickson ’21 is an oboe player and cymbalist who enjoys playing for a crowd, “Playing in front of the student section is pretty awesome because they all get really into it and they all like us.”

These warm feelings for the student section are shared by other members of the drumline as well.

“There’s a lot of people that really love when the drumline comes out for student section, and I think that that’s kind of the highlight of my experience, being on the drum line,” said Miller,  “Making people so excited to see us is really cool.”

Drumline is always something I look forward to because the football game hasn’t always been super energetic, usually due to us winning by halftime. The drumline gets us going again just in time for the second half.”

— Schuyler Houston

Marching band and drumline have become an integral part of the football culture, so the student section knows they can count on getting hyped at each one of these performances.

“Drumline is always something I look forward to because the football game hasn’t always been super energetic, usually due to us winning by halftime,” said Schuyler Houston ’21, a student section enthusiast, “The drumline gets us going again just in time for the second half.”

It’s also exciting for students to see drummers they have connections to out on the field hyping up the crowd.

“I’d say the most memorable moments are anytime Charlie [Duffy ’21] or BJ [Wolfe ’21] get a solo and I get to see my friends do great in the spotlight,” Houston said.

A part of drumline that goes unnoticed is their closeness as a team. The seniors strive to make the experience fun for everyone. Often, the drummers will go out to eat before marching, throw their sticks into the crowd after a performance and stab a drum stick through a drum head during their annual summer sweep of the percussion closet. Through these activities they’ve developed memories they say they’ll never forget.

“Sometimes drumline will go get food before marching band, or something like that, just to kind of team up,” said Miller, “We used to do big water fights with the drum line during Heck Week, but we don’t do that anymore.”

They also use this close team bond to diffuse the tension before a performance.

“We actually do a funny little hype circle… we do that before we go on at halftime. It’s kind of not really serious, but kind of goofy. We kind of just jump around and get really hype,” said Miller.

The football season has ended for the year and the hype for football in West High is slowly fading away. Drumline is over until next year, but the memories drumline has made will last forever.

“I definitely really like meeting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise because I have a lot of friends now, especially Freshman and Sophomores that I wouldn’t meet in any of my other classes, “ said Miller, “It’s nice to have a period of the day where I can just kind of goof off.”

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