Pride of the Irish rolls out preview day

Eighth graders get the chance to experience marching band

The+marching+band+performs+at+halftime+of+the+2019+Homecoming+game.+

Cathedran file photo

The marching band performs at halftime of the 2019 Homecoming game.

Nick Bozzelli-Levine, Reporter

Orchestrated by Director of Bands Mrs. Kathy McCullough as well as the admissions team, the Hill’s very first band preview day was created for prospective band students and their parents.

During Alpha period on Oct. 6, this outdoor event was held to engage and educate potential future band members. Typically a similar event, known as eighth grade night, offers students the chance to play with the band.

However, due to the pandemic, that may not be possible. So McCullough and the admissions team found a brand new way to offer the same experience.“The idea was for eighth graders who play an instrument to come and see what a typical rehearsal is like,” McCullough said. “We wanted to give them a fun example so they can see that marching isn’t that hard.”

The band went through exercises with the eighth graders to give them a taste of what being in a marching band is really like.“The kids actually got out on the field. We did stretches with them,” McCullough said. “Then we took one step. Then we took eight steps. Then you’d close your eyes and see if you could hit the yard line in exactly eight steps.”

Although this event was borne out of necessity, McCullough said she believes that it went well and will thrive in the future.

McCullough expressed pride in the students who came to campus for the event, saying they were “very open, excited and willing to try something new,” adding that “It was really good to see eighth graders who jumped right in and tried it.”

Not only did she find this experience beneficial to the younger students, but also for the band members themselves. Other than a recent football game, McCullough said,“With Covid, the band hasn’t performed for a while, (and) this was a chance to perform. That was great for our kids,” McCullough said. “I think (band preview day) will continue.”

McCullough considered this very first band preview day to be a success and hopes it will become an Irish tradition. She encouraged students to look beyond any fears associated with joining band and attend these sorts of immersion events. “It’s not threatening, it’s not scary,” McCullough said. “It’s a great way to see what (marching band is) like.”