March on with the Band Q&A: Northwood High School

And you thought we are just going to talk about Student Sections?!

How can you focus on just student sections when the Band is killing and putting on a show just as big as the rowdy students?!

While we always talk about student sections, let’s also meeting the rowdy group on the other side of the stands.

We bring you, the Band Q&A!

Our first ever Band Q&A comes from Northwood of Irvine.

This band is a loud group and they can battle with the Northwood Student Section, the Den.

This fantastic student section can’t be missed and interacts in the game.

We spoke with Senior Marching Band member Benjamin Zietz, Senior Trumpet player Ethan Magursky, Senior Band Member Marvin Israel and Junior Trombone player Annie Hu on what it takes to be the most entertaining band week after week.

It’s time you got to know the Northwood Band. 

What is the weekly routine to prepare for a football game and the halftime show? Are there adjustments made every week?

Zietz: I am one of two feature baton twirlers for the school’s 300 member marching band, and I perform in every pregame/halftime show with the band. However, although I don’t play an instrument, I am required to attend every marching band rehearsal. Morning rehearsals start at 6:40 am for me on Mondays-Fridays, and myself and my partner create new routines for each song we do in the show. We merge parts of our competitive routines and adjust them to perform on the field. 

Magursky: The marching band rehearses 1-2 hours every morning during the week. In this time we practice the show music together and learn new sets of the show. The directors push us to learn a new movement to the show by each performance, or at least add something new to it. 

Israel: Our typical weekly routine during rehearsal for performance day is that we would finalize what we are performing the week prior of performance week and then focusing on our “goal” for that week. However, our goal does change depending on rally schedules, then we would have to focus on what we would need to perform for the rally. Other than that if we have show week, we would either try to learn a new song in our show close to performance ready, or if we cannot learn a new song in time we would fix more touches on what we have already learned and make those songs even better. 

Do you enjoy the game or follow it as it goes along or are you focused with your job?

Zietz: I often enjoy following on the game with the rest of the band because I love school spirit and having everyone at Northwood work towards a common goal, which is winning the game. However, I’m one of two baton twirlers for the marching band so my performance can be a little nerve-wracking before halftime. Therefore, during the second quarter, I would spend lots of time warming up and practicing before I perform at halftime and focus more on my performance. 

Magursky: I do watch the game. Northwood had a strong team this year, which made it exciting to watch. Staying involved in the game keeps me prepared to play the fight song when our team scores. 

Israel: Since freshman year I personally have always been into the game and my job. As time went on, my mangability doing both my job and enjoying the game started to form into one job in a sense, I started doing my job as a passion during games and this enjoyed the game even more especially when our team was winning. 

Hu: I would say that we do all three! Our job is essentially to enjoy the game, and to follow along so that we can react quickly- to sit down in the stands if a player is injured on the field, to play the tag tune when a touchdown is scored, or to follow along with the cheer team’s chant! 

Do you play any pop culture songs and if so, which is your favorite?

Zietz: This year, we did a “Queen” show and I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody and We are the Champions. I also enjoy pregame pep tunes, including Sweet Caroline and Word Up. 

Magursky: We mainly play older music from the ’70s and ‘80s, but we do play Seven Nation Army on occasion. Some of our other pep tunes include Word Up, Eye of the Tiger, and multiple songs written by Queen. 

Israel: We play pop songs such as Eye of the Tiger, Happy, etc. I would say my favorite song would be ‘Happy’ because it is so catchy and everyone knows the song. 

Hu: Our half-time show tunes are often based on pop culture themes- for example, our show last year was based on different Hollywood movies, and this year’s show was the music of Queen! Besides the half-time show, we have a few pop song pep tunes as well. I would have to say my favorite of those is Happy, by Pharrell Williams. 

Favorite song/routine to play during a game? 

Magursky: My favorite song to play is Hey Baby. We play it at the end of the third quarter every game, and I feel like it really brings the band back together after the halftime show. 

Israel: I would say my favorite routine is when we all like up on the backside line before our show because it shows our energy and shows our crowds energy and that combined makes our show a lot better. 

Hu: My favorite pep tune of the entire game is also Happy! Many of the sections in the band have their own choreography to the song, so my section- the trombones- have a lot of fun little dances that we do in the stands while playing it. And it’s just a fun song overall! 

What kind of appreciation do you get from people at the games?

Zietz: Students are always very supportive at football games. My performance is often something that students haven’t seen before so it’s really awesome to share a really important aspect of my life with the public. It’s also really valuable because it allows myself to show baton twirling to the public eye. 

Magursky: We receive lots of appreciation from people at football games. For example, the student section and parents cheer us on while we perform. ASB also creates posters for the seniors in our band at the end of the year. 

Israel: Sometimes we would get personal appreciation from our team, cheerleaders, parents, student section, and even the other marching band. 

Hu: People at the games are incredibly supportive of our marching band, and it’s very gratifying to see. Many of the marchers’ own parents come to watch our halftime show, and our awesome student section is always cheering us on! 

Do you guys interact with the Student Section?

Magursky: We don’t often interact with the Student Section. The band is told to stay attentive so we can be ready to play pep tunes. That being said, we love to celebrate and cheer with the Student Section when our team makes a play or scores. 

Israel: We usually do not interact with the student section simply because we are on the opposite side of the stands while our parents are splitting both of us. 

Hu: Because of our setup in the stands, our marching band doesn’t have too much direct interaction with the student section, so that we can be sure to stay focused on our drum majors and directors’ instructions at all times. However, we often join along in student section chants, and sometimes sing along with the music they play on the loudspeakers as well! 

What is the funniest or most embarrassing moment as a member of the band/color guard?

Zietz: The most embarrassing moment would be having my baton fly across the field after a poorly placed toss in the first five seconds of the field show. I had to leap across lots of band members to get it.

Magursky: The most embarrassing moment was when our drum major told us to play a pep tune in the stands, but barely anyone played. It was really embarrassing and really showed us how distracted we were. After the performance the directors told us how. 

Israel: My funniest experience as a band would be during rehearsal when I would bring down the podium and me and my friends would roll down the hill we had (fire road) and one of the directors caught us. Embarrassing would be during a show when I messed up one of my dots and I was off by 10 yards, but thankfully I was okay. 

Hu: Oh, man. As a trombone, one of my greatest worries is hitting someone with my slide. During my freshman year Pixar-themed halftime show, there was a move where two straight rows I took out an entire row.

Any other band that you enjoy hearing from the other side of the stadium?

Zietz: I enjoy listening to other Irvine schools like University, Irvine, and Woodbridge.

Magursky: It’s always fun to play against another IUSD (Irvine Unified School District) team because we all play similar pep tunes. We cheer during each other’s performances and sometimes interact with other bands by making waves and waving phone flashlights at them. 

Israel: Usually whenever we have a band come for an away game we always play with them and when we would go to their home games it would be love and support throughout the entire night. 

Hu: Gosh, that’s hard to choose! We love hearing all the bands playing from the other side of the stadium. We even do coordinated pieces together- we’ll often play Go Big Blue together, or do the wave at each other from across the stadium. A couple years ago, we even combined with one of the schools’ bands, and we all played a few pep tunes together. That was incredibly fun for everyone!