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Make marching band great again

Marching band is an exciting extracurricular activity with many positive effects, contradictory to its geeky stereotypes.

After school activities, such as marching band, are great to mention on college applications – it shows that one is able to manage time among academics and any other activities outside of school.

Marching band also offers leadership positions, such as section leader and drum major, that colleges are happy to see on college applications. The section leader is in charge of their instrument group, and the drum major conducts the band and keeps them in time. The drum major also helps the band director during practices. These leadership positions can show colleges that the applicant can take charge and lead a group when necessary.

Besides gaining leadership and cooperation skills, marching band members also learn to be more active. In the world of advancing technology, the new generation is glued to their cell phones and technology instead of going outside. Marching band is an opportunity for students who don’t usually participate in sports to get a breath of fresh air.

Marching band is an excellent form of exercise. With regular three-hour practices nearly every day of the week during the season, most students lose weight and become more athletic. Some students even drop a jean size during the marching season.

Although marching band does conflict with most fall sports, the season is shorter than most. The marching season starts in late August before the school year begins and ends around November of that year. There are no off-season practices for the marching band. Any student who wants to participate in winter, spring, or summer sports is free to do so.

Students interested in joining marching band can even join with little to no experience. As long as students have the determination to learn the instrument and take symphonic band as an elective, they are welcome to join.

Monroe Township eighth grader Dominick Dzietczyk says, “[Marching band], no matter how long we do it for, will teach us so much about each other, our passion, and even just life in general. It takes a whole lot of emotion and dedication to just do what we do on the field.”

Students already in concert band benefit greatly from marching band. Many students learned to play louder and become better at playing from all of the extra practice during the season.

When the marching band has perfected their performance, they are ready to compete.

Once every one or two weeks, the Monroe Township marching band usually attends a competition. They perform their best and have a chance to watch other bands. They analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each performance and figure out how they can improve as a group. Instead of playing to win against each other, bands receive individual scores and strive to improve their competitive scores over the season.

Junior Brianna Barbarise says, “I love how [marching band] forces me to push myself and work hard to see improvement. Also, I love seeing how much our show has changed from the first to the last competition.”

Marching band performs at every Monroe football game and marches at parades. In December 2016, Monroe Township’s marching band was honored to attend the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary Memorial Parade in Hawaii. Members of the marching band and color guard stayed for a week in Hawaii, attending memorial events, learning about the history and culture of Hawaii, and having fun.

Freshman Casey Belko says, “For the past 2 years, marching band has been one of the biggest parts of my life. From representing New Jersey in the Pearl Harbor Day Parade to winning first place in almost every competition, [it] is truly so amazing.”

When asking a marching band member what they liked most about the activity, one of the most common answers was that they formed the strongest bonds and made many friends. When we see each other at band camp and at three hour practices five days a week, we become really close. No matter who you are, you can always fit in to the marching band family.

Freshman Keya Pai says, “What I love the most about marching band is that I met so many new people that I now call my family. When I’m not doing well, I know that when I go onto the field, all my worries are left behind . . . We all do what we are passionate about with the people that we dearly love.”

Who would say ‘no’ to joining marching band when there are so many benefits to being a member?

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