NHS Marching Band Preps for New Season
The first performance for the Norcross High band will be this Friday at the football season opener.
The Norcross High School marching band is debuting its first show of the football season at this Friday's game.
The students have been working on "The Race," an eight-minute routine set to popular rock music that also tells a story.
"It's a little bit more conceptual than what we've done in years past, so each section of the show is supposed to depict a portion of a running race," said Doug Maloney, Norcross' assistant band director for five years.
Acting as the starting line, "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC kicks off the routine, and then shifts to the rush of the beginning of the race with "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N Roses. The tempo slows down next with Michael Buble's "Feeling Good" as the runner finds his pace, and then the show crosses the finish line with "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor and "We Are the Champions" by Queen.
While "The Race" sounds like it will be a crowd-pleaser, the 147-member band seems to be excited about performing it live, too.
"I love it," said Bridgett Vega, a senior who's a saxophone player and a section leader. Her favorite part is the Survivor and Queen closer because she feels the songs and story are speaking to her.
"Being a senior, I just feel it's going to be really cool on the field, like 'We are the champions. We did it, guys!'" she said.
The marching band first starting practicing the new show the last week of July. All the students stayed for a week at Emory's Oxford College, where they learned half the steps and music.
"It was also a great opportunity just for the kids to get to know each other, for us to have them in a really focused and controlled environment," said Maloney. "It's a great teambuilding week for us."
And since practice has started, Maloney said the band is getting on track to learning the rest of the show. The one slogan he and band director Lee Newman say most is "do it again" because students learn best through repetition.
"[Marching] is such a physical activity that it's really developing muscle memory for kids in terms of going to point A to point B to C to D throughout their sets," said Maloney.
Routine and repetition were ways for the students to get used to the newest band director, too. Newman's first year at Norcross High was last year, so the students and staff had to transition to the changes.
Newman, Maloney and the students seem to have grown accustomed to each other, and that sense of family in Norcross' marching band returned.
"Everybody's more comfortable with each other because we know what to expect from each other. Last year, everybody was kinda feeling each other out. We can finish each others' sentences now, romantic stuff like that," Newman joked.
He and the rest of the marching band crew are excited about the upcoming football season, but the marching band also does more than just play at games. They also will compete in two competitions this year. They'll be performing Oct. 13 for the Georgia Contest of Champions held at East Jackson High School, and on Oct. 27, they'll be at the Creekview Classic at Creekview High School in Cherokee County.
Additionally, Sept. 18 is the northern half of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Marching Band Exhibition at Mill Creek High School. It's the opportunity to perform in a competitive-type setting, without the competition.
"There are adjudicators and clinicians that give us commentary and feedback and critique so that we can continue to improve on what we're doing," said Maloney, adding that the band received all superior ratings in all of last year's competitions.
Make sure to check out the Norcross High band and football team this Friday, Aug. 31, at South Gwinnett High School for the first real game of the season.
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