CLAREMONT — With talk about declining fan participation at some sporting events, one thing that has proven to attract a larger crowd is the halftime performance of a marching band.
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is a great example of how much of an impact a marching band can have. With nearly 100 members in this year’s band, you just know that there were many fans and family members in the stands that came to catch the performance.
Stevens High was well represented as Julia Tursky, Elizabeth Abbot, Hannah Lembree, Savannah Johnson, Matthew Knowlton and Alysha Webster all checked into camp on Thursday.
Talking with the Shrine band liaison Dave Baldassari during the game revealed just how much a band means to so many people.
“These musicians come up here to camp for two days and practice just as hard as the football players do,” said Baldassari as he spoke with so much pride that tears were visible in his eyes.
“The All-Star Band first appeared in 2006 and has become a very important part of the Bowl Game,” added Baldassari.
This year’s band director was Rob Skrocki, from Monadnock High, and after two days of practice, they marched down Main Street in Castleton, Vermont, during the Shrine parade before their halftime performance at the football game.
According to Tursky, it’s an experience that she wouldn’t miss.
“This is the second year I’ve performed and a typical day involves a lot of individual and sectional practice, as well as drills on the field and putting the field show together, we are pushed to perfection,” she said.
Stevens High, as well as Fall Mountain, have great halftime performances and one year the Monadnock marching band made the trip to Claremont for a very impressive show in front of the crowd. In the old days, when there was a football game, the band performed at halftime both home and away.
Fall Mountain Athletic Director Gordon Dansereau has confirmed that the Wildcat marching band under the direction of Glen Dion will indeed perform this year while at Stevens High. New Stevens music teacher Emma Robitille is already planning a halftime routine, according to Principal Pat Berry.
“Everyone that goes has a passion for music, which makes it so much better, and everyone wants to be there and they are all extremely talented individuals,” added Tursky.
It seems this football season, more schools may choose to not only field a marching band but also travel with the team to away games.
“Going to Castleton for the benefit of the Shriners makes you feel good knowing you’re doing something that is for an amazing cause and on top of that you can also support the 603 of course,” added Tursky.