Updated: Nov 2, 2021
After a long year and a half in quarantine, the students of Eagle Rock High School have returned to in-person learning. Though there was a bit of a slow start, students are back in their groove and ready to jump into school activities. Along with that, football, cheer, and drill are making their long awaited return with games and pep rallies.
With tryouts and preparations during the summer, the drill team has relentlessly been practicing almost every day for 3-4 hours. Starting 2 weeks before the start of school, they’ve been learning routines and performances constantly. “It’s definitely really tiring practicing every day, but I think one of the best feelings is seeing us perform the routine without any mistakes,” commented Trizh Barlet, “Having performed our first pep rally now was one of the best payoffs, just seeing people so excited to see us perform felt really great.” While they wait for game performances and pep rallies, the anticipation from other students is high. “I think it’s one of the best feelings to leave my 2nd or 6th period to hear the band playing, and then seeing the drill team,” said Denise Eichenauer. Even though we made a few mistakes, just being able to perform for the first time was amazing,” adds Barlet. On Thursday, tons of students gathered in the quad to view the band, cheer, and drill performance.
Along with that, the marching band has also been readying themselves to play at games since before the start of school. With special PPE (special playing equipment to follow covid-19 protocols) having arrived, the band can finally play in the classroom, and outdoors at games. However, there have been a few setbacks. Starting the week of the 13th, the outdoor area of the band and choir room is under maintenance, rendering it unable to enter for 3 months. With that, all of the needed equipment and music was moved from the bandroom to the auditorium where they’ll be practicing in the meantime.
“Even with all the issues we’ve been having, I think everybody is still so excited to be able to play games again,” comments percussionist Visila In. “After not playing for over a year, it really feels so nice to not only play music again but be back with our band family,” she adds. Having their first pep rally on the 3rd of September, both drill and marching band are excited to be back making their art.
After around a month of in-person school, the drill team and band prepared to play at their first football game of this year. While other games have already taken place, this was the first that band and drill would be performing at. But before the big event, lots of work goes into making sure everything works out as planned. “As with most events that call for some type of performance, the majority of our preparations go towards practicing the music. But with football games, we have a few extra aspects like marching, which require a lot of practice too. I wouldn’t necessarily call it difficult, it just requires everyone to cooperate and work together. It’s all pretty fun,” said clarinetist Zoe Lambino on the process of practicing for games. While it all seems extremely pressing, the marching band played flawlessly and added an entirely new aspect to attending football games.
Tons gathered in the bleachers of the field to watch the match and chat with friends. “Performing at the game was awesome, even during our stretches you could see the determination and pride from everyone's faces. The entire night was a strange mixture of anxiety, happiness, and exhaustion all at once,” Barlet commented.
After watching the performances from everyone that night, to say it blew me away would be an understatement. While usually the main event for most people is the football game itself, I personally believe that drills/cheers, swift routines, and the band’s joyous melodies are truly the best part of attending football games, and they make them all the more enjoyable. “It’s like a warm blanket when you’re shivering. That's what the hugs from everyone after performing feel like. I realize how lucky I am to have met all these wonderful people, and it makes me tear up a bit. If my team ever sees this, I hope you all know how special you guys are to me,” finished Barlet, “We really are just one big family.”