Two months ago marching band members were just getting into the swing of the Screaming Eagles. They were learning how to march in a straight line, step forward with the correct foot and play music in tune with complete strangers.
“Today it feels like one big happy family — I think freshmen who came in not knowing what to expect saw they had about 100 new friends after the first two weeks,” says Screaming Eagles Drum Major Ally Wolf.
As the Screaming Eagles Marching Band season comes to a close, Wolf and her fellow drum majors remember the highlights of the 2013-14 season and look forward to the Marching Band Review Concert at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at Mitchell Hall. The band will perform their repertoire of more than 30 songs, including hits like “You Can Call Me Al,” “Crazy Train” and “Shout it Out.”
“People are able to see our set list is a lot longer than what we perform on the field,” says Drum Major Martha Nedeau-Owen. “It’s really the culmination of our season.”
The highlight of the season for Nedeau-Owen was teaching their field performance to about 650 high school students in September during the third annual High School Band Day. For Nedeau-Owen it was the first time she led a group of about 700 people.
“It was like no experience I’d had before — to have that many horns pointed at you,” she says.
But the everyday role of a drum major has also pushed the UW-L junior.
“It forces you to step it up every day — even the little things like getting up early for rehearsal when I’m not a morning person,” explains Nedeau.
She sees everyone in the band, including freshmen, lead at some point during the season — especially on High School Band Day when they take charge to teach others their routine. Director Tammy Fisher enjoys seeing the more reserved and quiet freshmen find a place in the band.
“For me, it’s fun to watch their comfort level grow through the season and see them come out of their shells — especially with all the dancing and movement that we do!,” says Fisher.
The band had a busy season, including a trip to perform for the annual Youth in Music festival Oct. 12 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Screaming Eagles were an exhibition band for area high school bands who competed at the event.
“It’s something we do every year and it’s fun to perform at that big of a stadium in front of that many high school students,” says Drum Major Ryan Whaley. “We hope to be able to attract some to UW-L.”
The band also performed at a Woodbury, Minn. High School that day. Those opportunities allowed the band to perform their entire three songs and drum break field show, which they can’t fit into the half time show of the football game.
“It’s nice to be able to put it all together,” says Wolf.