Middle school band night is set for Feb. 12

Pride of the Irish will welcome seventh- and eighth-graders


Cathedran file photo

The pep band performs in the Welch Activity Center.

Avery Stuckey, Chief Reporter

For the 24th year, middle school band night will take place on the Hill, with this year’s event set for Feb 12.

Middle school band night allows for younger students thinking about being in the band in high school to get a taste of the experience. Director of bands Mrs. Kathy McCullough said, “(This is) an opportunity for seventh- and eighth-grade middle school band students to try us out by playing with our pep band at a basketball game performance.”

McCullough said, “Middle school musicians sign up in an online form to come to the game. Parents and siblings can also sign up to get a free ticket to come to the game and hear the band play. Middle schoolers are assigned to a high school host who plays the same instrument and stays with the student all evening. They come early and check in, get a name tag, get a pep book of music and meet their host. They sit next to their host in the band performance and play as little or as much as they can.

“After the game, they turn their pep book back in and meet with me if they have questions or comments. I also talk with the parents before and after the game.”

For more than two decades, this event has provided the opportunity for students from different schools to see what happens on the Hill. “We have 18 signed up (as of Feb. 8). Usually we have around 15 to 25 each year,” McCullough said. “The middle schoolers enjoy seeing the big high school kids play and get encouraged to keep practicing their instruments and continuing to play when they come to Cathedral. The high schoolers enjoy playing the big brother/big sister role for the young musicians.”

McCullough said, “We have a very high rate of students continuing with our band in high school after they do middle school band night.” One of those students is junior Antonio Arroyo, who participated during his eighth-grade year in 2019.

The experience had a positive impact on him. “I got to see what the band was like because that was one of my main things when deciding schools, and it helped me to see what the pep band was like,” said Arroyo.

However, since he attended he has changed instruments. “When I went, I played alto saxophone and now I play tenor saxophone,” Arroyo said, and added, “I will be hosting a middle school tenor saxophone player.”

Because of the positive influence, Arroyo does recommend coming to this event. “Anyone who is interested in playing band in high school should attend,” he said. “You don’t have to be good at the instruments. Go in with an open mind and experience new things.”

The band will perform on Feb. 12 in the Welch Activity Center, when the men’s basketball team plays Franklin Central. The varsity game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.