Strike Up the Band

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The cadence of drummers and the fanfare of trumpets brings the crowd to its feet. Looking down the street in anticipation, they know the marching band is on its way! Nothing sets the mood of a parade more than the sounds from band instruments. Marching bands have a long tradition in St. Vrain Valley Schools, beginning at Longmont High School in 1922.

“There is a lot of value in the traditional, home town parade and the morale that it brings the community,” said Dr. Karen Gregg, Band Director at Lyons Middle/Senior High. “A parade is a symbol of American tradition. It brings the community together.”

A marching band offers more than entertainment. Participation in community events such as holiday parades or town festivals unites schools and community.

“The marching band can be an ambassador for the school or district. Students can feel that service part and get linked into their community,” said Wade Hendricks, Band Director at Niwot High School. “The community outreach we do through parades or other events shows who our school really is.

Off the street, the band provides school spirit for athletes and fans during field shows and pep band performances. School events give students the excitement of performing to large audiences and the pride of representing the school community.

“Marching band provides the soundtrack for a big school activity. It is a way to engage an audience in what we do,” said Joshua Kirkwood, Band Director at Mead High School.

Students practice many hours during the summer and school year, working together as a team and sharing commitment toward a common goal.

“The camaraderie they build in the marching band is unique and different than in any other organization,” said Sal Martorano, retired Band Director at Longmont High School.

“It takes a lot of time and effort. They become a family and take care of each other. When they perform, it pulls everyone together after they have worked for months.”

Along with music skills, students gain valuable life skills that take them far beyond the marching field. Students learn self-discipline, organization, teamwork and leadership. Many students are top academic performers in their schools. They learn to be better people and citizens.

“Students in marching band are confident. They feel good about themselves, had social skills and feel good about school, life, and family,” said Martorano. “It really develops a good, strong positive self-image. Music isn’t just extra-curricular.”

Music offers students an artistic outlet, but also a path to finding their strengths and passions. Marching band keeps the beat of tradition and sets a rhythm for the future.

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