“Enter, if you dare,” the announcer says as the Northwest Guilford Marching Viking Band begins their 2019 program. The band has won three grand champion titles with this year’s show entitled ‘Funhouse.’
“The concept is that we are taking you into a creepy, abandoned funhouse,” band director Brian McMath said, “to which we take you through three different rooms, and are you able to escape those rooms?”
The show has a lot of different elements to it that are different to shows in years past.
“We are using a floor tarp that we haven’t used before,” McMath said. “It comes out in the third movement, which ends up bringing out our last trap maze that we are making the audience go through.”
The band has a number of props this year and are being used in a different way than ever before.
“We have been using scaffolding before in our props, but this year we are climbing and playing around on them for the first time,” McMath said. “We are also blocking off the first third of the field, which is quite different.”
The color guard is also being used to add effect to the show.
“We use our color guard to bring the show to life via characters,” McMath said.
For junior Abby Englishman, this season’s unique elements have made it a fun, innovative experience.
“This year is pretty intensive, but it always really is,” Englishman said. “This year is different because we get to try new things.”
The band is attending different competitions this year, so they are able to introduce new elements into the show.
“We have cool fabrics that the marching band makes a maze out of and we have really cool movable props,” Englishman said. “There are a few color guard members who go in the stands and before we perform we come down through the stands.”
Englishman, who has been spinning in the color guard for five years, says she has learned how to have a good work ethic, how important people are and about friendships.
Freshman Grace Garner has learned similar lessons.
“I’ve learned a lot more about family. I feel like the drumline has really come together this season, and we have worked so much harder. We just clicked,” Garner said. “Our leadership team this year has been helping us, as well.”
Garner has also learned necessary life lessons from participating in the band.
“I have learned a lot about time management and how even when you have very long practices, you still have to keep up your grades, do your homework and study,” said Garner. “It taught me a lot about how real life isn’t that easy. You don’t always get to go home and just sleep and do your work; you have to practice outside when it’s 95 degrees, and you have to suffer then go home and do your homework.”
The band typically spends about eight hours in total after school each week to prepare for each football game and competition performance. They also have Saturday rehearsals ,which lasts for 12 hours.
The band’s success is not limited to just on the field. They have also been applauded on their character off the field.
Dr. Elaine Smith, choir director at North Iredell High School, attended one of the band’s competitions and was impressed with the band students.
“I attend and work a lot of these events and am a high school choir teacher, their support of everyone really stood out,” Smith wrote in an email that she sent to Northwest principal Ralph Kitley. “They stood and cheered for every band throughout the day at the beginning and end of each performance.”
Many of the band students think that participating in the band is like a family.
“Overall, marching band, no matter what section you are in is a family like no other that prepares you for your life in a variety of ways,” Englishman said. “It is a great activity in which one should dedicate their time and effort into; it’s one of the most important things in my life, and I hope others can feel this way about it, too.”
The band’s final performance is Saturday, Oct. 26 at 9:15 p.m. in the football stadium. All are welcome to come out and enter the funhouse one last time.