The High School Marching Band
There's a lot that goes into high school sports traditions beside the actual sports themselves. You've got cheer, rallies, homecomings, and let's not forget one of our most important senses...sound. That's provided by the high school band and almost every human tradition has music interwoven for a reason...it speaks to us. Whether it's a wedding, a military ceremony, or a local high school's football game...music gets everyone fired up. Let's take a look at the role of the band and prep sports in the United States.
First, what makes up the typical band? Usually, the band members are from the high school's music program. You won't find many sting instruments on the band though since the band primarily a high energy affair. It's mainly composed of brass instruments with a strong drum core. In the brass section, you'll find trumpets, horns, trombones, potentially baritones, and of course, tuba's. Again, the instruments are typically on the side line or beyond the end zone so they need to carry a pretty good distance (100 yards to reach the other side of the field). If you want loudness, that's where the drums come in. The typical drum core is shared between the snare drum and a large bass drum. The drums have kits that allow them to be mobile and carried. Those instruments usually constitute a high school band for sports events.
So when does the band play? There are lots of times when the band plays at a high school football game which is typically the biggest showcase for the high school bands. The band is usually in full force before the game begins to get the fans and players fired up. They will usually not be at full peak during actual play but may have small pops of songs on the sideline during down times. The half time period is really their time to shine along with cheer. Half time runs 12 minutes and the and really needs to make the most of this time. Usually the band has a marching component and it's not uncommon to call them marching bands. They'll commonly take the field during the half time part of the game and hit their favorite songs. Speaking of which, what do the bands typically play.
Let's just say that they're not going to rock Celine Dion. The whole point of a marching band during a sports event is pretty similar to one in the heat of actual battle (machine guns not footballs). Certain songs rally the crowd and have an uncanny ability to fire people up. Some standards are "Charge" and "Stand Up" but that's just the start. Music can run the gamut from classical tunes (those with more pop similar to military marching songs) to updated hip hop of popular songs with a strong focus on rhythm and the drum corps. The band is usually led by a conductor who plays the traditional role of leading the band not only in terms of music but also marching steps.
High school bands at sports events can have as much tradition as the atheletic programs themselves and require a great deal of coordination to pull off the band well. We appreciate the band's dedication because like a movie with no music, prep sports events without them would feel eerily empty by comparison.