By Amy Wallot
I live near a high school. Actually, right next to one. As the days led up to the beginning of the school year, I could hear the marching band practice while sitting on the porch. The music, muffled some by trees, has a peaceful sound, in a radio-on-in-the-background kind of way.
I’ve always enjoyed watching and listening to marching bands. Especially when they put on a good show.
The Western Hills High School (Franklin County) marching band is known for its halftime performances. Band members dance. They wear costumes. They leave the crowd wondering what they will do next week.
Band director Stephanie Wallace said it’s a non-competitive band, one of the few in the state. This allows the band members time to participate in other activities such as athletics or to have a job. Wallace takes pride in being able to offer band to more students this way.
“We don’t force them to choose between the other things they enjoy,” she said.
While shooting a football game years ago, I heard the announcer eagerly introduce the band by saying: “Because halftime is a horrible thing to waste!”
I couldn’t agree more.
All 3 of our kids are in marching band (along with our foreign exchange student from Switzerland). They LOVE it! And they all swim on a swim team and participate in academic team (all 4 of them). So it really is nice to have the flexibility that comes with not competing. I think we have a much more diverse group of kids in band than schools that compete. We are the largest student group – 130 in band, with school of around 800. It’s like a huge extended family.