Behind the beat

The+marching+band+performs+their+routine+at+halftime+during+a+home+football+game+against+Bethesda-Chevy+Chase+HS.

Photo courtesy of James Galmeijer

The marching band performs their routine at halftime during a home football game against Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS.

Ifrah Reyal, Features Writer

The RM Marching Band has always been a popular feature of the halftime shows at Football Games, as well as during the two Pep Rallies throughout the school year. Many students look forward to their energetic performances and their upbeat songs, and a lot of work goes into preparing for these performances behind the scenes.

The players of the Marching Band dedicate a considerable amount of time to practicing outside of school.

“I’ve engineered our schedule to work within the really dense scheduling that RM has with all the clubs, all the homework, all the everything else that you folks do outside of school,” Instrumental Music Director Dr. Perry said. 

During football season, the band practices every Thursday after school. On days when there’s a home football game, they stay after school to practice all the way up to the game. In addition, they have preseason training before school starts. When everyone returns to school, they’ve already been practicing for the busy year ahead of them.

When they’re not performing at football halftimes, the Marching Band is in high demand. Not only do they perform for the football team, but many other sports teams request their performance at home games as well. However, they are unable to play for all sports teams due to their busy schedule. They also assisted in opening the Safeway down Rockville Pike, along with other City of Rockville events.

The trombone players perform a fan-favorite blindfolded performance at halftime. (Photo courtesy of James Galmeijer)

In order to create vibrant music, the Marching Band features a variety of instruments. These instruments consist of flutes, clarinets, alto and tenor saxophones, trumpets, mellophones, trombones, a euphonium and a sousaphone (a marching tuba.) The instruments are then further divided into different sections, such as the marching percussion and the trombones. The Marching Band also consists of the Color Guard, which supports the music played through synchronized movement of their flags.

The trombones section play a popular feature in their performances. The players move their trombones up, down and sideways while playing blindfolded. Despite not having an official name for the blindfolded act, it quickly became an integral part of their performance. 

“The trombones had seen that, I guess on YouTube, and started practicing it last year, and then they started adding their own spin and flavor to it, and it has become its own creation,” Dr. Perry said. 

It took the trombone players about three weeks of lunch practices to master it.

 “You have a set of motions on the beat, because there’s a beat going, and then there’s alternating motions,” junior James Galmeijer said. 

Dr. Perry says that the Marching Band is a place for kids to put their creativity and instrumental knowledge to use and contribute to the diversity of the RM culture. 

“Marching Band is a group that supports the culture here at RM. It’s one of the best ways students in the school can become part of that culture,” Dr. Perry said.

Seniors Shuxin Dai and Kobina Asafu-Adjaye practice their coordinated line up with whistles for a performance. (Photo courtesy of James Galmeijer)

The kids are free to rehearse whenever they want, often going to the Band room during lunch to practice with other people in their sections and learn new skills, if possible. 

“We try to learn new things, but sometimes it ends up being the same thing,” Galmeijer said. 

In order to join the Marching Band, all that is required is a basic background of instrumental knowledge, and the dedication to the five home football games and demanding rehearsal schedule. Students that don’t have any instrumental knowledge and want to join the Marching Band can join the Color Guard.

 “I’ve met a lot of really cool people through the marching band, and it’s given me a nice community to interact with,”  junior Evan Wong said.