Band spends two weeks preparing for super hero halftime show

By Emily Vossen — Is it a bird? Is a plane? It is the GlenOak High School band.

On Sept. 28, the band played a superhero medley including the dancers and the majorettes. The songs included in the medley were the Captain America, Batman, The Incredibles and Spiderman theme songs.

Junior Brandon Betro knows how much work has to be put forth to perfect the band music and a medley.

“To learn a new halftime show it starts out with memorizing the music. The amount of time it takes to memorize the music depends on the person. The upperclassmen can memorize the music in a short amount of time because we have experience with it,” Betro said.

The band also has many practices, not only during school, but also after school to create a show.

“We have two practices every week with the entire band and we have one practice every week with our section,” freshman Lucy Peloso said.

Band director, Christopher Irwin, describes the process of picking out the music to the performance.

“There’s roughly 50 to 60 hours in getting a show on the field, that includes learning the drill and music. Picking music can take several weeks for a director to go from a concept to actually choosing the right music for the show and the band,” Irwin said.

Not only does the band have to work towards perfecting the music, but there are also drills to learn and formations to create.

“Formations are both simple and difficult. We spend a lot of time reviewing set by set and drills,” junior Bridget Swartz said.

In the Superhero medley, one of the forms the band creates is the Batman symbol.

“With a theme show and a song representing Batman, it’s pretty much a no-brainer creating a form like the bat symbol. We use a drill writing software to ease the process in creating forms for the band. The software allows us to see the forms with different viewpoints from the stadium,” Irwin said.

Putting both the music and drills together are both very challenging especially when putting both of them together.

“The Spiderman theme is the most challenging. It is more complex and there are very important details that need to be focused on such as the articulation in the song,” Betro said.

The bands starts working on music and training during band camp over the summer and works everyday to prepare for the school years’ halftime shows.

“We started rehearsing the music in mid-August, then learning the drill when school started. While learning this new show, we spent time polishing our pregame show and our first halftime show,” Irwin said.

Junior Samantha Schmuker has been in band since fifth grade and explains the difference with her experiences in middle school band and high school band.

“Middle school was a lot easier because you don’t need to memorize music. I like high because it’s challenging,” Schmuker said.

Irwin describes what it is like getting to work with the students every day, even working with some since fifth grade, and what the best part is of being the director of the band.

“Many of us get the opportunity to start working with these students in fifth grade as well,” Irwin said. “So seeing them become more mature musicians each year is really exciting. Not many teachers get the opportunity to work with a student for eight years.”

For many students, an exciting way to participate is being a part of playing in the halftime show every football game.

“I would have to say the best part is getting a lot of applause after we play,” Swartz said.

With all the hard work and all the effort, the band will continue to improve for the rest of the year.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]