When you think of a high school marching band, is your first thought, “band geeks, what they do is so easy!” But is it really!? It truly is not that different than the life of an athlete who memorizes plays, drills, and signs. Band students are required to go on a field and play several songs they have memorized to near perfection. They have to stay in choreographed lines, march in coordination with everyone else’s step, continue playing, and possibly hold an instrument that could weigh up to 40 pounds. Not only do they play in field shows, many bands, including our own Cardinal Marching Band, takes part in several parades throughout the year, marching and playing for miles.
Did you know that the Cardinal Marching Band is comprised of students from every grade level with the majority of them from the freshman and sophomore classes? Seniors come in a close third with slightly fewer juniors. Many of our BG students not only play in the band but they also successfully mesh together other passions. Most of those in band are also student ambassadors, several are involved in Campus Ministry, and others are active in FIRST Robotics. Not only are they involved in clubs, many also play multiple sports, some are two or even three season athletes. Their talents range from soccer to field hockey to cross country. In the winter months, these same students showcase their physical strengths on the court playing basketball, down the slopes in alpine skiing, and on the mat as they take down their opponent in wrestling. In the spring, these students tear it up on the field in lacrosse, baseball, and on the track. Others, like those on our Equestrian team, display the elegance and grace it takes to maneuver a horse while jumping over a fence.
With close to 39% of them employed with part-time jobs, it is amazing they also have time for other commitments. Just over 26% of them also take part in Jazz Band, staying after school for rehearsals plus they attend events and shows during the evening. Another 40% come in before school to attend Honors Band rehearsals. Both bands also donate their time to take part in local community events outside of the walls of BG! High school is a busy time, but somehow these students find time to balance it all. Many who participate in both sports and band said they have conflicts, and in turn, sacrifices to make. They often times must choose between running a race, or making a performance. Sometimes they find ways to fit it all in. Students who participate in both activities say they are often up late finishing homework to ensure they meet their own academic standards. That same drive to do well is also what gets them through grueling practices, drills, and even the marching band rehearsal famous line of “let’s just run it once more.”
These students are a unique group, living double lives! The qualities that make them “artists in music” are the same qualities that make them “student-athletes.” Before labeling each group, let’s celebrate these students who are given the chance to excel in so many physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual ways. Through sports and music, these students learn to achieve goals together, the value of hard work, practice, and discipline both on the field and in the rehearsal room.