For the first time in two years, the Orange Lutheran marching band has finally been able to resume performing and competing. Working tirelessly since the end of summer on recording pep music for football games, transitioning to a drumline, and memorizing both the auditory music and visual drill for their 2021 marching show, the band has labored endlessly together. Although the workload may seem daunting or even overwhelming, members are constantly supported by all of the teachers, coaches, and friends surrounding them in this program. Through  the close-knit environment the instrumental program provides and band camp conducted prior to the first day of school filled with ice-breaker and bonding activities, the members of band are able to form long-lasting and genuine friendships with people who share a similar drive for music.  

This year, the director of instrumental music at Orange Lutheran, Mr. Zeilinger, also known as Mr. Z, made the decision to transform the pep band into a mass drumline, complete with bass, tenor, and snare drums, and even a cymbal. For this transition, all of the students who usually played wind and brass instruments had to learn how to hold drumsticks and play syncopated rhythms and beats on brand new instruments. After growing more comfortable with these instruments, the drumline was able to learn short tunes and cadences to perform at pep rallies and football games to cheer on OLu. 

In addition to learning to play the drums and other brass, wind, and percussion instruments for the first time, many students also had to learn how to march and learn drill as a part of the marching band. The theme of the marching band’s 2021 production is “Mad Hatter’s World,” which is based on the novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Their show consists of three movements including music from the end-credits of Coraline, an arrangement of the song “Mad World,” and a piece called “Wild Nights.” For over two months, members of the marching band spent countless hours practicing and memorizing this music and matching it up with the proper marching and movements. Throughout the course of October and November, the band will perform their marching show in multiple competitions and compete with other bands in their division. 

As the instrumentalists work to balance their drumline and marching band performances with schoolwork, sports, and other extracurriculars, they must work on a sense of balance and responsibly schedule out their time to put in the effort needed to perform with their fellow band members and friends. However, even with the competitive nature of the marching band season, Mr. Z always stresses that it is not about perfection or the place received in a competition, but rather the effort, drive, and unity exhibited by the marching band. Because of Mr. Z’s willingness to teach anyone and the dedication and sense of community promoted by the instrumental music program, band is more than just another obligatory extracurricular to add to a college application, but rather a family filled with new opportunities and support.


Photo Credit: Aaron Zeilinger