Marching band mixes it up

Marching band mixes it up

Nona Penner










 Marching band is now optional for incoming freshmen who had taken band in middle school



One hundred twenty-eight is a big number for a band class, even with “give or take a few.” The staff team of 18 kept everyone on track.

That was last year.

Those numbers have been sliced. At band camp, the number of attending students was nearly halved, with only seven staff members.

Marching band was formerly a required course for all incoming freshmen who had taken band in middle school, which guaranteed a large influx of newcomers. However, among the dedicated and enthusiastic freshmen, this also caught students who were uninterested, yet unable to escape their marching fate. This year, freshmen will have the luxury of choice and a feeling of change.

Marching band director Jon Fey leads marching band students through the parade music at band camp. Photo by Nona Penner."There are the ones that want[ed] to do [band]," marching band director Jon Fey said. “Then everyone else that we were forcing to do it was just along for the ride.”  

The goal is to encourage students who are not interested in marching to pursue their other options, so marching band retains only students who want to take the course.

A few incoming freshmen that had already signed up, such as Pranav May from Kennedy Middle School were unaware that marching band had been changed to an optional class. However, because it is no longer mandatory, freshmen like May can choose to either stay in marching band, or switch to pep band. The latter only plays at football games, whereas marching band participates in parade competitions.

Though the size of marching band may decrease this year, trumpet player junior Rona Berger views this possibility as beneficial.

“Everybody can get more individual attention, and the people that are getting the attention will get more into it and overall it’ll be a better experience for everyone,” Berger said.

Drum Major senior Kevin Jiang agrees with Berger, but is mindful of one likely effect that the change will bring.

“I’m only concerned about the numbers [going] down,” Jiang said. “It’s obviously going to be less than before.” Despite the setback, he is optimistic about working with a smaller group.

By making marching band voluntary, Fey cannot gauge how many students are going to stay with it until the first week of school. This has also prevented Fey from selecting section leaders in time for band camp. Regardless of these complications though, Marching band is looking forward to a fresh start with more devoted members than ever before.

The key word to parade season for marching band this fall isn’t forced.  

It’s committed.