When it comes to West Deptford High School marching band, it’s not all sabers and butterflies. Just ask the 50 members who start practice by squatting to the ground and belting out hearty battle cries.
It is one of the band’s tensing exercises—aimed to limber them up before working on the fourth part of their show.
Following the football game Saturday morning, the marching band will travel to Middletown High School in Delaware to compete in their first competition of the year.
The Eagles return this year as reigning champions—winning six straight Chapter 1 championships and two straight Atlantic Coast Championships. However, Tom Kershaw stresses marching band is not about the championships, it is about the experience for the kids.
“It doesn’t change anything, training is the same and preparation is the same,” says Tom Kershaw, director of the marching band.
(Click here to see a photo gallery of the marching band.)
During the summer months, the 50-member ensemble worked together to nail down this year’s routine. With practices starting in July, the band consistently practices three days a week to perfect the performance.
After featuring a few songs last year, this year’s performance will feature music from Beethoven and Mozart. Kershaw classifies the selection as “not cliché” and “mostly symphonic.”
“We dabbled in it last year and had a lot of success,” says Kershaw on the music choice.
In addition, Kershaw says that the new performance will feature a lot of choreography. Instead of typical marching, band members will also be dancing as they play.
Upon arrival to Middletown High School, the band will practice for three hours prior to taking the field at 7:15 p.m. Drum major Jackie Wallowitch says even though the band is slated for a long day, she believes the morning football game will work to their advantage by providing a practice run for their performance. She is confident in the band’s ability to come out with a solid performance after coming out strong at Friday’s game.
“Since Friday was a great run, they know they can do it again,” she says.
Assistant drum major Collin Quinn is equally confident in the band—despite the loss of last year‘s senior band members. With 16 new freshmen joining the band this year, Quinn witnesses the mentoring daily.
“We have a strong senior class to help the freshmen class this year,” he says.
Quinn refers to this year’s band as a “melting pot,” bringing a lot of fun and personality to the group. However, regardless of the fun and laughter on the field, Quinn says the band is working hard to continue the legacy of the West Deptford marching band.