Huntley High School’s Marching Band just about doubled in size as seventh and eighth grade students from both Marlowe and Heineman Middle Schools joined the high schoolers to kick off Friday night’s football game.
After practicing for weeks the young performers felt prepared to perform well but also a little nervous.
“I’m kind of nervous, but really excited to play,” seventh grader Mia Simons said, as she rested her heavy baritone on the ground. “We’ve been working on this since the beginning of the school year.”
They had only practiced once as a collective group the Wednesday before, but there were no worries from neither the high school students nor high school band director Phillip Carter.
“We’re totally ready; as long as the weather holds up, it’s going to be fantastic,” said Carter.
“It’s just different because the band is so much bigger,” senior Rebekah Green said. “We were good on Wednesday and we’ll be better today.”
They marched towards the stadium to the drum-line’s beat and soon arranged themselves in front of the crowded Raider Nation. To the cheers of the audience, the announcer welcomed the middle school students back to the stadium, a tradition that has been going on for well over 10 years.
The looks on their faces were tense as they raised their instruments to play. And on Carter’s cue they began playing a familiar tune, song “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King.
According to Marlowe band director Brooke Atlas, Middle School Night is more than just kids getting together to play a song. This night gives the middle school students the performance experience, and a chance to get a feel for what marching band is like.
“They get this awesome opportunity to experience game day as part of the band,” Atlas said.
To Carter, Middle School Night is about making a connection, meeting potential band members, and seeing them grow.
“It gives them a taste of what high school band is like, exposes them to what level they could be playing at when they get here, and introduces them to us band directors.” Carter said. “ It’s exciting to witness the process of seeing them grow as potential new members of the band.”
Seventh grader Angie Favila also expressed her eagerness to join marching band.
“It was fun to hang out with the older kids and get a feel for how they sound, I really want to join.”
In case you missed Friday’s performance, both the Marlowe and Heineman students will be marching again in the upcoming homecoming parade on Sept. 28.