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Step and One, Two, Three, Four

Does the Marching Band Actually March?

For most schools, the busiest time is the beginning of school. There is a buzz of activities and new experiences for all. Of course, one of the biggest parts of the fall semester is football. While the game may be the main focus of attention, the experience would not be the same without the cheerleaders, dancers, and especially the marching band to create the Bulldog Spirit.

Before the game starts, the Marching Bulldogs run onto the field while the drumline plays the “Run-On Cadence.” A cadence is when the drumline plays without the band. The band forms a “W” before they play the WHS fight song, “On Wauconda.” When they play it for a second time, they march into the formation “DOGS,” where they then play the national anthem. When the anthem is over, they march off the field while playing the fight song, then filing into the band stands. 

In the stands, the band plays a number of popular tunes during the game, such as “Feel It Still” and “Sweet Caroline,” as well as many cadences. The band doesn’t just play, though- senior band members can start various chants, and the band often does the wave. Pay attention, as their goal is to send the wave as far down the stands as possible.

At halftime, the Marching Bulldogs prepare to run on once again. This year’s show theme is “Top Secret,” where they play the theme from “James Bond,” “Mission Impossible,” Adele’s “Skyfall,” and “Soul Bossa Nova.” “James Bond” and “Skyfall” both have multiple sets, or formations, while Mission Impossible and Soul Bossa Nova each had one that was played in, since Mission Impossible was played with the Alumni at the Homecoming game and “Soul Bossa Nova” was played with the Wauconda Middle School and Matthews Middle School eighth graders. 

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But how exactly does the marching band even march? Well, marching band members don’t march the way many may think; they do something called roll-stepping. Moving in this way means they bounce less, making playing their instruments less complicated. Basically, when they move forward in any way, they put their heels first on the ground, then roll onto their toes, hence the name. When moving backwards, they only march on their toes without their heels touching the ground until they reach the next spot in the set. To go left or right, or even diagonal, they have to figure out if our next position is more forward or backwards. Then, they march the same way as they would if they were going straight in one direction, but they must keep their upper bodies facing straight forward, which can sometimes be a bit of a struggle.  

When moving, each step is on a beat. Most of the songs are in 4/4 time, meaning each measure has 4 beats. The point of marching band is that everyone looks the same, which is why they all wear the same uniforms. Hopefully, if everyone is marching correctly, their left foot is always on the odd beats, while their right foot is always on the even beats. 

Despite what the band directors may wish for, unfortunately not everyone is perfect. If a student’s feet are out of time or if they are marching on the wrong foot, it isn’t terribly difficult to get back in step. Marching band is required for all students in band, which means they get graded for being at the games. However, small mistakes that are hardly noticeable won’t reflect poorly on a student’s grades. 

Come out and join them at this final game, where the band will play the senior-chosen Queen songs “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

WHS 2023 Marching Band Seniors (@WHSBand118)

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