Behind the Scenes of the Marching Band Field Show


Regan Brown, Sports Editor

Thursday, 3pm. For most students at Santiago, this signifies the end of the day, but not for those in color guard and marching band. Every Thursday from 3 to 6, the entire marching band and color guard, around 300 students in total, gather on the practice field next to the P Building to conduct a weekly rehearsal. These rehearsals are salient to the band’s performance during halftime shows at Varsity football games on Friday nights. For anyone who has ever seen the marching band perform at halftime, and especially here at Santiago, you may have noticed the intricate and fluid movements of the band: music blaring, the intense organization of the colorguard’s flags and rifles soaring through the air. Yet, what you wouldn’t have seen as a spectator is all of the work put in to bring that field show to fruition.

Bringing the show to life with over 300 people needing to know where to go, how to get there, and how fast they need to get there, all while playing an instrument or spinning a flag is no easy feat, and, as you can probably imagine, is an arduous task for everyone involved. The process begins on the first Thursday of the school year. The band directors have already gotten the field show and music prepared and have to distribute it out to the students. Every student receives a set of “dots” for the drill, which are essentially coordinated on the football field that dictates to every student where they need to be at each stage of the song. The first time everyone finds their dot is a tad bit chaotic, as the dots aren’t the easiest thing to understand. However, once the first few dots are found, the process is much smoother and is added until the final show is ready for the game. After every dot is found, they begin to practice going back in forth to the metronome until perfected, then the music is added and the show becomes more and more complete. During each practice, bits and pieces of the show are practiced over and over until it is to the director’s liking. Making changes for everyone to remember each piece isn’t always an easy endeavor and requires a big group effort and a great deal of patience on everyone’s part.

Rain or shine – and by shine I mean ninety plus degree weather – the band holds practice every Thursday afternoon. As a member of the color guard myself, I can attest to the hard work and dedication every member puts in to bring the show together. So, the next time you see the BOSS take the field, take a second to think about all of the hours put in by so many hundreds of kids to create the performance you are watching. Hopefully, you gain a new sense of appreciation for all of the hard work the directors, coaches, and students put in every Thursday, as well as all of the individual practice that goes into it, on the behalf of each student. It is by no means easy, but it is an extremely rewarding thing to be a part of and see through until the end.