It’s not just football season. It’s marching band season, too.
High school football teams begin playing games this weekend, and so do the schools’ marching bands. And like their football-playing classmates, band members have been practicing and running drills for weeks to prepare for the season.
At Salem High, preparations included a salsa dance lesson for the entire band and color guard to get in the groove for the Latin-inspired music in their marching show.
“It’s very different than any kind of show we’ve done before,” said band director Cynthia Napierkowski. “The kids are doing a great job with it. They absolutely love it.”
Salem, Beverly, Peabody and Danvers high schools all have 100 or more students in their bands, and all plan to perform at home football games and travel for festivals and competitions.
Peabody High’s band does not march during halftime at football games but plays a mix of jazz and rock favorites from the stands.
Beverly High School will have 134 students in its band and color guard this year, an increase of roughly 12 students over last year, said band director Adam Costa. The band will be getting new uniforms next month.
Although the Danvers High band has traveled to play at away football games in years past, this fall they’ll travel to just one — the Thanksgiving Day game at Gloucester High School.
School officials said they made that decision at the end of last year to give the band the most — and best — exposure. Shorter halftimes, band director Ronald Parsons explained, means a visiting band is often unable to perform its entire marching show.
Nathan Bonneau, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, said it’s not as common as it used to be to have two school bands wanting to march at halftime. Local athletic directors have the discretion to set the length of halftime, he said.