For months on end, the members of Brunswick High School’s band spend their Mondays through Saturdays with the same approximately 150 people.
Over the course of a season, the band members form tight bonds that continue for the rest of the year. Through practice sessions, halftime performances and trips to competitions, these students see improvements not only in their band skills but in their emotional maturity as well.
The school’s band recently wrapped up its 2018 season with an important announcement to share — the group will perform in one year at the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country.
Jacob Harris, a band member who will be a senior in next year’s parade, said he could think of no better place to wrap up his Brunswick High band career.
“To end my four years like that is just going to be amazing,” he said.
Harris fondly recalls the last large-scale parade Brunswick High’s band marched in, back in April, when Brunswick High and Glynn Academy’s bands marched in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C.
“The one memory that I have in my head that I will never be able to get out and don’t ever want to forget is when we were turning right on to the street to finally march the actual parade and just seeing all the floats and balloons and all those people right there, it honestly hit a heartstring for me,” he said.
The band recently wrapped up its fall season, which kicked off in July with an intense two-week camp. The band practiced three days a week when the semester began, performed during halftime shows at football games and around the community and took part in three competitions.
“We had a really fun show this year,” said Grace Horton, a junior member of the band. “Everybody really clicked, everybody got into it. We worked hard, and we got the results that we wanted.”
Competitions took up the band members’ entire October, said John Birge, the band director. Their impressive scores in the competitions boosted the band’s application to perform in the Philadelphia parade next year. He said the band will plan to also tour around New York City and Philly during the trip.
“We’re going to do two days in New York. We’re going to plan some tours, so they can get the most out of it,” Birge said. “Then we will go the one day to Philadelphia and see the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall and all of the historical sites.”
The students have worked hard throughout the season, he said, and he’s seen them grow since the first day.
“It’s fun to watch them mature,” he said.
The band members’ strong friendships and dedication to their sport helped them see success this year, said junior member Anna Forsman.
“This season went really well because it wasn’t just entertaining to the people, it was entertaining to us too,” she said. “And it’s not that we’re only doing what we love, it’s with the people that we love.”