Instead of rushing out of the fan section to buy stereotypical fatty football game food, you’ll find senior Mason Herzig standing on the bleachers in the student section, watching the Avonworth Marching Band’s 80’s themed halftime show. In addition to enjoying the music selection and props, Herzig says, “I have many friends that participate in the marching band, and I enjoy supporting what they do. This year the band included four banner paintings that helped make their show more compelling to watch.” With students in the fan section watching and supporting them, marching band members have acknowledged the new changes and appreciate the cheers. Sophomore band member Liana Simmons comments, “I think it gives the marching band the confidence needed to put on a great performance. This makes our hard work not for nothing, [and ]makes them [band members] feel like the band is important.” This change in perspective about the band does not just stay with a small group of students with friends in the band. From students to coaches to players (in both the band and football team), there has been a new more noticeable appreciation for our marching band.

This 2018-2019 school year the marching band is doing a halftime show called “Back to the 80’s” One thing that has majorly changed from last year to this year is that they have these banner props, which the band hides behind and then charges onto the field for the halftime show.

Down on the field, football players have a unique perspective and appreciation for all of the band’s hard work. Freshman football player and marching band member Jon Bodnar commented about how the band influences the players on the field and connects the community after games when the band plays “The Eyes of Avonworth:” “The song brings everyone from the community together, not just the high schoolers. From the field, I see many family members and other community members singing along to the song.” Head football coach Derek Johncour talks about what’s important to remember about the playing the Eyes even when we lose, “{It’s} Not about winning. Learn from losses. Good to celebrate the victories but important to learn from defeats. It helps show that they will still support us even through our losses” There has been a noticeable change in the coach, community, and student opinion regarding the Lopes marching band. While our football players don’t get to see the halftime show, they have seen the band’s preparation for their friday night performances. Senior football player Patty Gannon says, “I came to the games 7th and 8th grade. I thought the band was a joke with like 7 kids. When Mr. Guess took over, it evolved into something great. When the football team sees them practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the soccer games we go to, we all think holy s**t, our band is great.”

Football players huddling together to watch an extra point field goal kick, where immediately afterwords the band plays “The Avonworth Fightsong”

Although the football team does not watch the band during the game, they have noticed how hard the band works, and they appreciate their efforts to make Friday nights enjoyable for all. Junior football player Jacob Horigan has a lot to say on the matter: “I love the fact that the band works just as hard as anyone else, and they always fire me up before the game. There’s nothing better than when the lopes score and the band goes crazy.” He also acknowledges the band’s dedication to their work and responsibilities on game nights. In particular, Horigan mentions a past football game where temperatures reached chilling levels: “Last year, against Riverside, they almost became icicles by halftime. The fact that they always come and they are excited to play makes the atmosphere amazing and just something great to be a part of.” Other than acknowledging the band’s dedication and hard work during the football games, Horigan has noticed an improvement between band-student-player interaction on and off the field. He comments, “I like the fact that there’s more interaction with the band than there was a few years ago. I feel like I am a part of a family in the hallway and on gameday. Killian (brother) and Grace (sister) being in the band also give me a better perspective on how hard they work and how much time actually goes into the whole operation.”

While the band was playing against New Brighton, students stayed to clap and sing along to the song to the 80’s halftime show.

A marching band is made to entertain not only the football players but also the FAN SECTION! This year, the band and fan section have focused on working together to keep our football team’s spirits up.  Senior Marching Band member Brianna Nowka remarks on the improvements and changes between the band-student interactions: “It shows a lot of school pride, that we enjoy the stuff, and we are working together to pump up the football players and get excited. It’s cool to see the fans interacting with us, enjoying what we’re doing and being excited about it.” Last year, band members: Lukas Helsel, Samuel Wimer, and Hugh Eadie, along with a few bass drums, walked into the student section and played “Freaks: When Mom’s Not Home;” this got the students excited and involved. This year, Helsel wrote the piece “When Mom’s Not Home” for the whole band to play, helping to involve the students, every band member, and more. Mason Herzig had more to say on this matter: “Lukas leading the song with the fan section[during a game] got us all excited and pumped up. Band interacting closely with the student section really connects us as a community..”

 

In the end, band director Mr. Guess comments on the new interactions between the band and students: “Feels like that’s the way it should be, a true community. Band involved with band and students involved with the band. How it should have always been!”

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