By: Sanjana Chadive
Beginning in August, members of the Garnet Valley Marching Band begin practicing their music learning the show drill. Even after the prior season is over, student musicians still pursue other musical endeavors. Every summer, student musicians learn their new music at band camp. For five days, band members try to master the halftime show. This year, the halftime show was called “Heroes and Villains”. Arranged by new Garnet Valley Middle School General Music teacher, Samuel Stewart, “Heroes and Villains” is a compilation of different heroic and villainous film themes; two of these include “Main Theme” from Superman (1978) and “Go the Distance” from Hercules (1997). The incredible show consists of three powerful movements.
“The show was definitely harder this year,” said sophomore trumpeter, Rishi Vyas, “Learning the drill and music was challenging, but it was still really fun. The tricky rhythms helped me become a better musician.”
Vyas, currently fifteen years old, has been playing his musical instrument since 4th grade. Over the years, he has become a serious musician. In middle school, he was chosen to play in the PMEA District 12 Elementary Band Festival and the Southern Delaware County Honors Band. Band conductors nominate their best students to participate in both of these activities. This year, Vyas auditioned for the PMEA District 12 Honors Band and is playing first trumpet in the Jaguar Jazz Band.
“Music is a huge part of my life and there is definitely some musical territory I have yet to explore,” he said. “I’d like to start my own musical group and maybe learn the guitar over the summer.”
Several may argue that trumpets are the only instruments that can be heard in the band; flutes, oboes, clarinets, saxophones, french horns, trombones, baritones, and tubas, and any percussion are also playable instruments in the band. However, responsible for keeping the beat, students in the percussion section have a challenging and important job; they practice for six and half hours each week. Percussion musicians still continue playing their instruments during the indoor drumline season in the winter and spring. The indoor drumline is a popular musical extracurricular, and members of the band who do not play a percussion instrument during marching season are allowed to participate. Michaela Rolecki, a sophomore, is one of these individuals.
During her freshman year, Rolecki, 16 years old, played the french horn in the concert band and the mellophone during marching band; she did not enjoy playing the latter due to the new embouchure. Towards the end of the season, Rolecki was interested in joining indoor drumline. After a successful audition, she played the mallets during the drumline season. During this time, she found a deep enjoyment for drumline. Fueled by her new love for percussion and disdain for the mellophone, Rolecki decided to play mallet percussion in the marching band as well.
“I think playing in the marching band will really help me with indoor [drumline].” she described.
Evidently, marching band requires a great amount time and numerous requirements. Time management is crucial, which may steer many interested middle schoolers away from participating. Currently enrolled in one Advanced Placement (AP) and three Honors courses this semester, Michaela has dealt with this problem.
“For me, music is a like a break because I enjoy it so much. As soon as I get back home [from band], I am completely focused on my schoolwork. There is no scope for distraction.”
She also believes that many students can still have plenty of fun in marching band with loads of schoolwork.
“This shouldn’t be a reason kids shouldn’t do marching band,” she stated, “This is probably the nicest environment in the school, and I encourage that a lot of kids try an instrument out. It’s really fun!”