This year, you may have already had the opportunity of seeing the Franklin High School Marching Band. On Friday, September 20th, the band performed their full show, which included four songs from Cirque de Soleil’s La Nouba. To get to that point, all of the Band members, as well as Color Guard, practiced their marching and music for three and a half hours for two work weeks (August 12th through the 23rd), and have been practicing Wednesday nights (for three hours) each week since.
Due to their combination of hard work, practice, musicality, and marching, the band is going to be competing this year for the first time in Franklin High School’s Marching Band career. They will be competing at the Cudahy Invitational on Saturday, October 12th in the Triple A category. The Band is also able to be seen at two more home games, including at the Homecoming football game and on Friday, October 18th. They will also work their way towards competing at the State Marching Band Championships at UW Whitewater by playing there this year in the Novice Quad A on Saturday, October 18th.
The Band’s director, Mrs. Umhoefer, had more to say on the events leading up to this year’s show and competition. She says that it all began after last year’s Marching Band ended, around November and December, where Mrs. Umhoefer looked for a show to fit the Band’s skills. She looked online, to other bands’ performances on Youtube, as well as on the J.W. Pepper Sheet Music website. Once she found a few pieces that fit the band’s strengths, this year she noted the band’s especially strong musicality and percussion section, she presented the top three choices to the three band’s themselves (Concert, Symphonic, and Wind Ensemble) to vote on. The choice for La Nouba this year was, according to the director, a ‘landslide’, most likely, she believes, because “…people [the band] were intrigued by the fact that it wasn’t super popular music, but it was still really catchy…”, and “…it was something just a little bit different”. Certainly, she pointed out, this was not like the Beatles show last year.
Along with the new show’s music and drill, the band and marching members have also grown from last year. New Freshmen joined the band, as well as Color Guard (their membership growing from four people last season to nine this season). This show also provided an opportunity for the band to improve visually. Despite this, Mrs. Umhoefer also pointed out, the music this year was still …”a lot harder than last year’s was…”, with “…harder notes, harder rhythms; and it’s not something you can know by ear”. Yet out of all of these new challenges and opportunities, Mrs. Umhoefer says one of the main motivators to go forth and compete this year was the students approaching her about the competitive aspect. The Band this year is working harder than ever to improve themselves to compete, and will continue to show the talent they can produce through continued practice up to their last performances.
There are also many more opportunities for the community to join in besides viewing the Band’s performances, including the Community Chili Dinner on the night of the Homecoming Football Game from 4-6 p.m., taking place in the cafeteria. This money goes directly to supporting the band through the students’ individual band accounts and to UMPs (United Music Parents) to use towards band education and trips, including this year’s band trip to Boston.
Franklin High School Band hopes to again provide an amazing show for the Franklin community, and have fun while doing so. After all, as Mrs. Umhoefer reminded, “…La Nouba means to party or to live it up, so that’s kind of our motto for this year, to just have fun while taking our marching to the next level.”