Band sadly taken for granted by students


It is quite the American tradition for every school to have a football team and a shadow for the football team also called a band.

These brave souls are tasked to provide a chaotic symphony of marches, popular tunes and an endless stream of fight songs for any successful football team. To all people on the outside, that is the sole purpose and function of this band of people banging drums or blowing into long and wooden or shiny instruments.

Some people love the band and a few other people hate it. Most people, however, are indifferent to the strange noisemaker behind them every Friday night. While much pomp and circumstance is awarded to our lauded champions of the football field, the moral support that follows them everywhere, even to Beaumont, does not receive any recognition for its constant presence and performance.

We are all there for the game, however, we forget about the entertainment off the field. As a member of the band I am all too aware of the amount of indifference that is forced upon the band, most obviously during the half time show when we are answered only by the dull murmur of hundreds of individual conversations.

Every week the band goes out onto the field at half time, and regardless of whether we face a legion of home fans or a sparse sprinkling of Concordia Crusaders we play a new half time show with its own unique theme.

Getting the joke every week is not as important as the fact that each week the band learns three new songs for a one-time performance that Friday night and most of the crowd does not even bother to listen to the songs and the satirical stylings of band director, Donald Theode, and his one-of-a-kind speeches. We perform at every game, putting our best effort into each song and our songs are consistently greeted with nothing except the occasional parent’s cheer floating over the dull background noise. Yet every week we come out onto the field ready to play.

As I said before our half time shows are chock-full of higher forms of humor such as satire, irony and farce, many of which are enjoyed only by us. In the band we are well aware of the lack of attention given to us, so we make the best of it by throwing random moments of comedy into each show just to see who is really paying attention. For the most part, the answer to that question is not many.

Some people might remember a certain halftime show last year in which two band members danced the YMCA, part of the speech was delivered in German over the PA and one particularly brave and fearless member pranced across the field in lederhosen. Another fact that might shock you is that the band is not strictly limited to the football season. In reality, your band works nearly year round to provide you with some level of representation and entertainment.

After the football season we are working hard to produce our Christmas concert, in the spring we compete in several competitions like TAPPS and TPSMEA and after that we have to work to produce our Spring Concert. When we compete in the spring we do not enter under just one band but rather we have one concert band, two jazz bands, a dixieland band and countless soloists and ensembles, or small groups of musicians.

We are very good at what we do, and we usually either win or place second in our competition. These musicians have worked tirelessly throughout the year to hone their skills and make them worthy or recognition by TAPPS or TPSMEA judges. However, for some reason, we do not seem to get as much recognition as other competitive groups in school.

Now that I have bragged enough I feel like I have to clarify the point I am trying to make. I am not saying that we in the band should take any of the credit, praise and attention from the football team: first off, this is Texas so that is impossible and secondly our football program is very good at what they do and definitely deserve all of the credit they get. The point that I am trying to make is that we in the band are aware of our secondary position to sports teams and we accept that; we can take care of ourselves. We realize that the band will never be on the same level as the football team we work so hard to support.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with being in the background for one of the most successful teams around.  If you talk to a member of our band, they will probably tell you how much they enjoy traveling with the guys and gals that make our band the award-winning entity that it is. At the same time however we are good at what we do, and while we do not need to be coddled and congratulated for every little thing, we deserve some recognition and respect from our own school, especially the students.

The fact is, we do not play for the parents. We play to provide entertainment value for the regular student body. We are not just playing for applause hoping that our mommies and daddies think we are great. This should not be the most difficult thing in the world. The fact is we are just as worthy of praise when we perform well as when the football team gets a clutch win. Supporting your band is as easy as waiting a few minutes to hear us during the next football game.

Erich Hennings is a Junior at St. Thomas. He started working for the Eagle fall 2015. His job entails writing opinion pieces for the paper and formatting and writing other articles for the web edition of the paper. His office hours are 3:00 PM-4:00PM every Tuesday and Thursday. He can be found in his office, a 2006 beige Toyota Camry which can be located on the second floor of the parking garage on the south side of campus. He is willing to accept donations to help him fund his work; working as hard as he does gives him a tremendous appetite.