Marching band proves to be a talented musical arts group, a team, and a family

April 28, 2023

Walk into D055 and you’ll find students sitting throughout the room. Some in the back corner chatting, some tuning their instruments, other sporadic clusters scattered in the room. The marching band kids claim this room as theirs’ though– they’ve been here since August after all. Welcome to their home– they made this place their own and found their family.

Marching band originally was not focused on competitions, but rather on other activities like performing at football games. Today, they are consistent competitors, holding the title of state champion, while also excelling in their other roles at school. This past season, the marching band set a new school record at the festivals, winning State Champion, Best Auxiliary Percussion and Best Ensemble.
There are a variety of different sections in marching band: winds and brass which include instruments like trumpet and french horn; percussion which includes the drum line; side line percussion which includes the front ensemble’s mallets and keyboards; and color guard which has props like twirl flags for visual effect.

The marching band’s season spans from August to November. In the middle of August, band camp officially starts at Cherry Hill High School East, from 9:30 A.M. to 5 P.M.. Around 75 students begin early in the process of training, developing, costume fitting, preparing equipment and more.

For many incoming freshmen and underclassmen that are entering the school for their first times, band camp serves as an assimilating activity. The first transition to a new school is facilitated and made easier by the band. Yet, some may be deterred by the fear that comes with change and the responsibilities associated with joining the band.

“Don’t be afraid because I think that a lot of the people that consider are mainly afraid of competing, or having to memorize the music and drills, but once you do it it’s really easy. And you’ll get the hang of it. And I think growing another family here is what makes it worth it. And the awards you get makes it worth it. So I think that the little fear that seems like a lot that you have when you are considering to join is something that you can definitely overcome,” said David Tribble (‘23), one of the assistant drum majors.

Like many other musical groups at East, collaboration and unity is a driving force of success in marching band. If one person is missing, it can sound like something from the music is missing. Yet this idea of the power of every individual in contributing to the whole is especially pronounced in marching band because their physical presence is needed to present a cohesive front on the field.

“Because of the dependency on other people’s presence and our reliance on each other and helping each other, it differentiates us from just sitting there and playing an instrument” said Evangeline Shim (‘23), the other assistant drum major.

For the students that participate in marching band, the activity changes them– not just as musicians, but as people.

“It’s really helped me become who I am today. I don’t think I’d be who I am without going through drum line for four years, meeting everyone I did, going through the experiences that I did with festivals and going to football games,” said Benjamin Bannett (‘23), the drum line captain.

Eventually the relationships are cultivated, the skills are perfected, and the people transcend past marching band. They’ve constructed expertise and community from the day they joined the group.

“This is kind of like our area,” said Tribble.

And when they march victoriously, heads up, out of D055 for the last time, they are leaving having been part of something where they mattered– their musical talent, but themselves as individuals as well. They leave with the confidence knowing they were part of something beautiful. Because in the search to find a home, they found one, forever transformed by their family.

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