From the outside looking in, the recent Spirit of Northwestern marching band trip to Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas, looks like a recruitment tool above all else, but the trek out of state is more than what meets the eye.
Associate Director of Bands Dan McDonald explained the significance of traveling to areas both within and outside Louisiana.
“We love playing for football games, pep rallies, and all of those things, but we go to these exhibitions because it is our type of people,” he said.
People in the stands at exhibitions understand how it feels to perform under the bright lights and to play their hearts out, which makes the performance special. It also allows band members to look back at their roots.
“The current band students get to perform in front of their high school bands and their directors,” he said. “So it is something special for them.”
At events such as the Mesquite exhibition, McDonald notices a slight difference in the band as a whole.
“Everyone just turns it on: You can tell there’s 10 to 20 percent more energy with our band [members], which means the band will perform even better,” the director said.
An obvious difference performing at home compared to playing on the road is the new atmosphere.
“[It is a] totally different environment; it switches things up on us,” McDonald said.
The unfamiliar environment is not the only challenge band members face; they also face grueling hours of preparation every week.
“We’re always looking to have a great show no matter what, but each week we might add small things here and there,” McDonald said. “We’re always looking to be better.”
According to band member Jordan Davis, the demanding schedule is worth the friendships made and new experiences.
“It’s a family. We always get onto each other a little bit, but we’re all brothers and sisters in music,” the junior sousaphonist said. “We go through the worst of marching band and the best of marching band together, and it makes us stronger.”
The Spirit of Northwestern will perform Oct. 20 at the Homecoming Pep Rally. A full performance schedule can be viewed at capa.nsula.edu/music/spirit-of-northwestern/