Liberty Band takes the center stage at halftime

Tina Bardot, Beat Editor

Football games are a conglomeration of different entertainment options for Liberty supporters to enjoy. Besides the sport played by the football team, there is the constant cheering of the cheer team, the engaging performance provided by the drill team, and the constant music resonating from the back of the stands, courtesy of the band.

However, this background sound that has been a staple of past football games is no longer the only performance band offers the student section; band is now providing a new level of entertainment by playing down on the field for the halftime show.

Recently, the band played for the halftime show for several home games, most notably the Homecoming game. This migration from the stands down to the field has proved to be a milestone for band’s presence at football games. Once an entity that played in the background for only student’s ears to enjoy, the band now serves as visual stimulation when coming down to the football field to play for cheering Patriots.

These trips up and down the stands required band players to prepare for several weeks. “In the weeks leading up to Salmon Days we had morning rehearsals. We’d come in and practice marching around the track and marching in an arc, and we had to memorize the music,” junior bass clarinetist Alex Diamond said.

The musicians had to adapt to a change in plans and were faced with some challenges in the process such as getting used to playing below the student section rather than above it and dealing with the differences in placement compared to the other players.

“We lined up as we usually do, but Mr. Tanner told us that we were going to be playing on the field so we formed into three lines. Basically, as a snare drummer I had to mark time and we all marched out. It was kind of annoying because at first we couldn’t figure out which times we split off into our certain lines. So, we figure that out and we get to our hash marks where our percussion section lines up, and we all turn toward the field,” sophomore percussionist Jack Poile said.

While physically attaining the field was a struggle, adapting to the change in sound also posed problems for the band.

“One of the main problems with playing on the field, what we couldn’t work out at first, is that since we’re spread out it’s kind of hard to listen to the band and line up with the conducting,” Poile said. “So in a weird way—and this sounds weird since you’re playing an instrument—you’ve got to turn off your ears and just focus solely on the conductor and how they’re conducting because the delay of the sound traveling really messes everybody’s timing.”

Nevertheless, the Liberty Band ran into very few issues at halftime during the Homecoming game and played a strong mix for the student section to enjoy. Despite certain drawbacks to field-playing, the band gave Patriot supporters a stronger idea of band’s capabilities as a musical group.

“One thing that’s nice about playing in the stands is that we get to play more since we don’t have to move. But if go down on the field there’s some time to get out there and we can’t play as much stuff, but everyone can see you and you’re playing at everybody, which is pretty cool,” band teacher Jared Tanner said.
Originally, there was some debate as to whether or not the band would keep playing on the field due to the process it requires to do it well. However, Tanner has stated interest in keeping this new experience alive in the future.

“I think that they liked it, but it might have made them feel a little uncomfortable because it was new. However, it is something that we’ll keep doing and maybe do a little bit more of starting next year, just maybe not every game.”

By having an official place at the halftime show, the band is a more official part of the football game itself, which fulfills band’s overall purpose at sporting events.

“The band is there to provide entertainment for the student section. We’re meant to enhance the experience of the game, and having kind of a more official halftime show does that,” Diamond said.