Marching forward

The Ides of March come to the halftime show in September

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Cassidy Waigand

Drum Major Kylee Wheeler, 11, directs the Fox Marching Band in the fight song.

Cassidy Waigand, Staff Writer

After months of vigorous practice, the Fox High School marching band performed The Ides of March for the first time September 1, 2017, at the football game to show support for the team. The band marched into position during halftime on September 1, 2017. They stood at attention, ready to begin at the signal of their director, and proceeded to perform The Ides of March for the first time publicly. They marched from one side of the field to the other, forming elaborate designs all while playing the song. Afterwards, they went back to the stands, continuing with tunes like the fight song and the Alma mater in support of the football team.

The intense preparations and rehearsals leading up to the first home game included weekly Tuesday night practices throughout the summer, followed by band camp. Band camp is a two week, full day camp from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and then 7:00 am to 8:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  “It’s like during those weeks, all you do is live, eat, and breathe band,” junior Hazel Shipley said. Even with the long preparation, however, many band members had mixed feelings about how the performance would go. Eleanor Foster, a flute player in the band and a Junior, was mostly optimistic about the first performance.

“I feel pretty ready,” Foster said. “This could go either way. We’re at a pretty decent spot for tonight.” Slightly more nervous for the night, Melisa Grabic, a junior clarinet player who had a solo in the halftime performance, said, “I feel ready to march but less ready for my solo.” Shipley however, felt completely confident in the band’s abilities for that night. “Yes, I’m pumped,” she said.

 However, the physical training that the band members endured was not the only preparation for that night. In order for there to be a halftime show, there had to be a song to perform. The band director Mr. Steve Harms explained how they decided on The Ides of March, which was derived from Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

“Usually we try and listen to twenty-five to thirty options,” he said. “Then we narrow it down by if any sound like what we have done, and then if it fits our ensemble to finish narrowing it down.” Mr. Harms went on to explain that once they chose the Rite of Spring as the song they would work with this year Gary Backlund then arranged the piece so it would work better for the band and from that, the band chose The Ides of March. The title refers to a date on the Roman calendar, and more specifically, is when Julius Caesar was betrayed and stabbed to death.

So after months of practice, the halftime performance was enjoyed by many of the students in the stands. “They did really good. It looked very together, ” Alyssa O’Neill, a sophomore, said. “It was amazing,” said sophomore Makayla Dace. Sophomore Lizzie Zimmermann enjoyed the halftime show as well, “They looked like they wanted to be out there,” Zimmerman said.

Even with the positive reviews of their first performance, the band will still be striving to improve for future games and upcoming competitions such as the Farmington Marching Festival. “As we continue to practice we do video and sound recordings like sports teams to see what we need to improve and what is good,” Harms said. Along with this, the band will be learning the last third of the show as well as continuing practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays weekly.