Marching band helps teens stay in line
Band members spend weeks preparing for area band nights and halftime shows.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Some teen-agers refuse to go marching silently into the night.
"It's a thrill to march out on the field and perform for all the people in the stands," said Ben Krafcik, a senior trumpet player with the Howland High School Band.
"I've been taking music lessons since first grade, and this is my fourth year in the marching band, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I have a lot of good memories of the band."
It's football season.
And marching band season.
Neither happens overnight.
Krafcik and hundreds of other teen-agers across the county have spent the last several weeks practicing and preparing musical numbers to perform at area band nights as well as during halftime at the school's football games.
"It's a good time," said Lexi Moore, a trombone player at Howland. "People really seem to enjoy the shows."
Work involved: But the fun doesn't come easily, local band directors say.
"It is a lot of work," said Bernard Edenfield, LaBrae High School band director. "We spend about 82 hours putting a band show together. The kids and the band directors work hard, and that's what's so nice about having band nights, because then we can perform and parents can find out that all that hard work paid off."
Edenfield and his associate band director, Ted Steigerwald, have more than 100 students participating in the LaBrae marching band.
"What band members do is not all that different from athletes," said Ken Young, director of Lakeview High's band.
"We are working all year with the music. Members are practicing and playing most of the year. There are a few weeks off in the summer and then marching band practice starts."
Several area schools also spend a week at band camp, during which the musicians practice about 7 1/2 hours a day for five days.
"It's tough," said Jill Redmond, assistant band director at Niles McKinley High School. She and band director Carla Dean took their 167-member band to a college in Pennsylvania the first week of August.
"It was extremely hot that week, but the kids worked hard and did a great job," Redmond said.
Many benefits: Young and James Jackson, band director at Howland High School, noted that besides the performances, being a member of a high school band has a lot of benefits.
As a member of the band, you have to learn how to work well with others, Jackson said.
"No matter what you want to do individually, when you are in the band, you have to put that aside and be part of the group," said Nancy Moore, assistant band director at Howland.
"There is no room for 'showboats.' Everyone has to work together and pull for each other."
Moore noted that numerous national studies have shown that students who participate in high school music programs score higher on college entrance exams.
"I believe the main selling point of the band is that playing music stimulates the mind and the development of the whole person," said Edward Fabrizio, Girard High School band director.
Organizing time: Jill Antonucci, a senior member of the Girard band, said the music program also helped her learn how to organize her time.
"You learn when you first start playing how to make time to practice and do your other school work," Antonucci said.
"Then, when you start marching, you learn how to get your homework done and still be able to make it to band nights on time."
Carol Krafcik said participating in band has helped Ben and his brother, Micah.
"If the school district didn't offer a music program, I would move," she said.