Band brings lively atmosphere to games

"If the timeless sounds of high school could be packaged in a box, the school band playing at a Friday night sporting event would be the main ingredient.The band encompasses all the elements that make sports what they are, from opening with the national anthem, to accompanying cheerleaders' routines, to closing with the school's fight song. The band is loud. Fans can hear the bass drums before they even enter the gym. The band builds excitement during pre-game warmups. When timeout is called and action stops on the court, band members strap on their instruments and keep the crowd in the game when the players take a break. But the band doesn't have stats and can't be packaged. While the players on the court decide the game, the band keeps the crowd injected with spirit and enthusiasm.I think the band helps the game atmosphere, Jefferson tuba player Josh Reusser said. Everyone is more energetic when we're here. Afterwards everyone say thanks for coming. And if we're not here, they notice.The band gives credibility to the games. It brings energy and spirit to the home team. Players, parents and fans take ownership in their school's band - it doesn't feel like a real game unless the band is there, said Federal Way band instructor Larry Walsh.It helps the people get pumped up and players play better, said Jefferson sophomore drummer Steve Dennis. Everybody has fun, and it gives us a break from playing the classical stuff.As a kid, I always banged on pots and pans. My mom suggested I play the drums and its stuck ever since.What's next? someone with a trombone shouts during a time out on the court.Louie Louie, comes a reply from the drum section.The band swings into the classic - a classic as far as pep-band songs go. You don't read a lot about band members or cheerleaders, Decatur band instructor Jeff Cohn said. The focus is on the team. Every one is there to support the team, all the media focus is on the team. Our hope is to be recognized by fans and the team while we're there. It's a lot of work. Sometimes it's assumed that band members want to be there. Some of them like it, but some detest the pep band. That's the biggest thing people don't realize. They think pep band at games is the center of the music program, when it's merely a peripheral piece. Team building is as much of a part of the band in the stands as it is for the athletes on the court.The Jefferson band camped out in the school's gym for a night at the beginning of the year. The event helped the members come together and get to know each other.The reason I was hired was to build the band back up, said Jefferson's first-year band instructor Kathy Green. Right now we only have 35 members. There should be more. The excitement is definitely growing. The excitement of winning isn't limited to the ball players.It feels good to play the fight song if we win, said Jefferson sophomore Melissa Abams. But if we lose, it doesn't feel as good. "

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