ORLANDO, Fla. — High School Football in Central Florida returns in less than a week, but with a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Orange County Public Schools has decided not to allow marching bands and cheerleaders at the games.
In recognition of their contribution to the game-day experience, here are 9 reasons why the band members are actually the real heroes of high school football.
1.) The Atmosphere - Can you even imagine a high school football game without the band? In the stands, the band can help keep you in the game, often punctuating key moments with a little musical flare.
2.) Loyalty - You won’t find more dedicated fans of your team. Did you know the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens franchise has featured a marching band since the team’s days as the Colts? They even continued to operate without a team when the Colts were moved to Indianapolis, and led the charge for a new team in Baltimore.
3.) They’re Smart! - The neurological benefits of musical training have been well-documented. It’s been known to help improve language development, memory, and hand-eye coordination.
4.) Good Company - Quite a few celebrities include high school marching band on their resumes. Singer Gwen Stefani played the piccolo in her high school’s band. ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel played the bass clarinet at his high school in Las Vegas. And actor Samuel L. Jackson played the french horn and trumpet in school.
5.) Time management - Balancing school, homework, and band practice can be a challenge for anyone, even more so when the expectations are higher. Every band member knows...If you’re on time, you’re late.
6.) Military history - Percussion and wind instruments have been used on battlefields since ancient times, typically to help coordinate troop movements. Some military traditions are alive and well in modern marching bands, including many of the vocal commands used in marching formations.
7.) Halftime entertainment - Forget about the concession stand. The display of musical and physical coordination that is a marching band’s halftime show could be the highlight of the game. The first halftime show at an American football game was performed by the University of Illinois Marching Illini in 1907 at a game against the University of Chicago.
8.) More than musicians - Marching bands typically include a “Color Guard,” another feature borne out of the band’s ties to military tradition and flag-bearers. Color guard equipment can include flags, rifles, and sabers, among other props. Margaret “Peggy” Twiggs is largely credited with creating the modern color guard as we see it today, coining the “Peggy Spin” which became a common part of color guard routines.
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