Marching band keeps the beat

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Marching band keeps the beat

Marching band performs at halftime during the homecoming game.

Marching band performs at halftime during the homecoming game.

Photo by Rina Levy

Marching band performs at halftime during the homecoming game.

Photo by Rina Levy

Photo by Rina Levy

Marching band performs at halftime during the homecoming game.

Lynna Deng, Arts Writer

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A sequence from the drum line welcomes students to the first pep rally of the year, pausing briefly as the familiar “RMHS!” echoes across the field. With a few quick gestures from marching band conductor Dr. Peter Perry, the sound of flutes, piccolos, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns and tubas fill the air with the opening chords of the Richard Montgomery victory march.

Officially named the Marching Rockets, Richard Montgomery’s marching band performs at every home football game and many other community events. “We perform for pep rallies and games and for the community. We performed for the opening of that new Safeway down the street,” Dr. Perry said.

“Marching band has been the mainstay of our school’s culture since its founding,” Dr. Perry said. “Definitely for the 24 years I’ve been here.”

As such an integral and visible part of the school community, marching band is quite different from the six sit-down ensembles here at RM. “The people who join marching band are not just doing it for the course requirement. They’re there because they want to be, and oftentimes they’re better,” sophomore alto saxophonist Melissa Herman said. “We’re held at a higher level.”

With its more advanced music, complex routines and many moving parts, marching band requires even more cooperation than a typical musical ensemble. “Marching band is more than just playing a piece; you have to perform the piece, in a way,” junior and trombone section leader Zachary Sliter said. “It takes more concentration as well because you have to march in time with the music and keep time with your marching.”

The extent of their coordination also gives the band members a stronger bond. “We’ve grown together as a group. It’s been a real close group, and everyone’s really supportive,” Sliter said.

The band members really enjoy this close-knit community. “When you’re eating before a game after the rehearsal on game day, you’re sitting in the restaurant or in the band room, eating, making jokes, laughing, and it’s just a great experience,” Sliter said. “I’ve never had a dull moment.”

Not only does marching band build school spirit and a close-knit musical community, it also builds the band members’ artistry. “It will help you grow your skills. No matter if you think you’re good or bad, marching band will make everyone better,” Sliter said.