The band will perform during halftime of the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 1, 2011
Contact: Laurie Hogan (336) 370-8307
Created: 10/6/2010 1:59:56 PM
When the Northern Middle band takes the field at the Gator
Bowl in January, it will be the only middle school band performing
among a group of high school bands. It will also be the first middle
school band to perform at the Gator Bowl in recent memory, according to
Bowl Games of America. On Dec. 29, the Northern Middle band will travel
to Jacksonville, Fla., to participate in competitions and prepare for
its halftime performance with other school bands from across the country
at the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011. In the meantime, the band is busy
practicing and raising money for the trip.
The Northern Middle band, directed by Dr. Jane
VanMiddlesworth and Brandon Davis, practices four days a week for an
hour and a half after school in preparation for the Gator Bowl. Their
practices consist of learning the music for the routines, practicing
their dance moves and physical conditioning, including weight training.
The drum line started preparing in February and has an extra rehearsal
at 8 a.m. each morning. The drum majors rehearse with the whole band and
then for an additional hour.
The band has about 90 members, including a drum line
and flag team. It is made up of seventh- and eighth-graders, with one
sixth-grader who "plays like an eighth grader," according to the school.
They perform in a high step style modeled after the North Carolina
A&T Blue and Gold Marching Machine. Their shows include a drum major
salute, a "downfield," a slow song and a "breakdown" when the entire
band dances. Their percussion cadences, field show and drum major salute
are all originals written by Davis.
Northern Middle's marching band performs for home football games, as
guests at high school games, in local parades, at special events and at
school pep rallies and concerts.
"Preparing for the Gator Bowl has created an amazing
atmosphere of cooperation, school spirit and pride among the staff,
teachers, students and parents," said VanMiddlesworth. "Extraordinary
enthusiasm and hard work have created magical results of music learning,
teamwork, student leadership, responsibility and camaraderie. One
student who has never been a fan of school gets up at 5 a.m. because he
is so anxious to get started every day."
VanMiddlesworth says the whole school has joined in
the Gator Bowl spirit. Teachers are donating time and money for
fundraisers. Students and staff are wearing marching band t-shirts and
sweatshirts to show their support. All teachers and staff are working
together to make sure the band members keep up their school work.
The band will be holding numerous fundraisers to raise money for the
trip. They will be selling cookies, Subway gift cards, t-shirts and
concessions at sporting events. In addition, the band is planning a
talent show, car wash and raffle contest.
In Jacksonville, the Northern Middle band will
compete against the participating high school bands for the chance to
play during the Gator Bowl pre-game show. All of the bands will have the
opportunity to march in the Gator Bowl Parade and perform a group show
commissioned by Bowl Games of America during halftime.
"Participating in the marching band requires
dedication and commitment, which are two characteristics that help
develop excellence," said Principal Sam Misher. "Going to the Gator Bowl
is an opportunity for our students to showcase those qualities for
themselves and for NGMS. These students have learned to value teamwork
and cooperation in addition to dedication and commitment and will see
how these qualities can come together in one fantastic performance. No
matter what happens, these students will know that they lived our
school's motto, 'To expect excellence every day.'"
Donations can be made to the Northern Middle marching band by contacting
Assistant Principal Karen Ellis at 336-605-3342.