Late autumn means the football season is winding down, and that means the Elkin High School Band will also be a little less busy.
At every football game, the marching band lends excitement and a musical score to that night’s action.
However, what may seem to be a casual performance filled with action and humor has actually taken months to perfect by 54 band members. Band members must not only learn how to play music effectively, but also how to march in time with others while doing so. Besides playing for home games, the band also travels to away games and participates in several fundraisers throughout the year. Band practice, led by Elkin High School teacher Tonya Smith, begins in July and lasts until December every year.
Despite the long hours and hard work, the social connections and friendships developed in band class keep band members energized. Casey Long, an Elkin High School band member said, “Like most things, it [band class] has its moments where it’s mostly good, and some moments where you do get irritated. But it is mostly a fun time.”
A deep love of music is also required to participate in the band because not only do members practice playing music, they also study music history, theory, and learn how to sight read music. In order to be a well-rounded band, students have to master a wide variety of music. Classic pieces such as “Music of the Night” from the musical The Phantom of the Opera may be played on the same night as the rock song “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. The band also practices the marching routines long hours after school, which can be exhausting.
Although a great deal of work, participating in the group also offers a creative outlet for students. “Music is the way we express ourselves,” said band member Zoee Wood. Most band members agree with Wood. Casey Long commented, “Music is the base for most people to express their true emotions, through their voice or an instrument.” That desire to create leads most band students to persevere, and they form a tight-knit team as the year progresses.
Band director Smith says, “Building a band is like building a house. Every piece of wood and every brick are important to the structure, and the personnel are the foundation of the band, but the music is the decoration.” Let’s hope Elkin’s marching band will continue to build excitement at our parades and games for many years to come.