Halftime Heroes

Marching band improves members both musically and individually


Photo by A. Johnson

The marching band performs their halftime show at the Gaffney game on Aug. 20.

Violette Franke

For the Spartanburg High marching band, the excitement of Friday night football doesn’t begin at kickoff, but at halftime. Weeks of practice go into learning a halftime production and preparing pre-game music for the crowds at the football games. The marching band members push themselves to execute halftime shows with both engaging music and visuals. Beyond performing at games, the marching band also prepares performances for concerts, parades and community events. 

John McAllister, band director and coordinator of marching band is passionate about the members learning more than just music, but also hard work and dedication through challenging practices and excellent performances. He claims that the work put into marching band goes beyond what fans see at games and that the band is in high demand for community events. 

We perform at events around Spartanburg (Homecoming Parade, Veterans Day Parade, Christmas Parade),” McAllister said. “We also do performances at local events for various organizations. This could range from an event at a restaurant to a grand opening. Our drumline is also in high demand for similar occasions. We also travel to competitions and perform our halftime show.” 

Marching band is separate from other band classes offered at SHS, and members are required to put in a great deal of time and effort in committing to rigorous after-school practices almost every day. Participating in the Viking marching band is a time commitment like no other after-school activity offered. Members attend the standard two-hour practices for normal days, but the day before each game consists of a three-hour rehearsal practice. Then, on game day, members practice and perform straight after school until 10:30 pm.  

Shelby Arnold (12) is a marching band member who loves being a part of the band. She claims that beyond improving her music skills, she appreciates the way marching band challenges her as it has taught her life lessons on hard work and positivity. 

One of the most challenging parts about marching band is pushing through. Most days it is very hot outside and physically exhausting and it is super difficult to push through, but because we push through, performing makes everything always worth it, which is my favorite part.

— Shelby Arnold (12)

By spending so much time with each other and having a shared dedication and passion for music, members of the marching band create special bonds with their bandmates. A core value of the marching band is teaching students selflessness. Like any team sport, in a band each member has their role and responsibility in executing a perfect performance. Having a common goal of musical excellence not only brings students together, but also teaches them valuable lessons on leadership, team building and responsibility.  

Julia Graham (11) enjoys being a part of the marching band because in addition to the excitement and fun of Friday night football games, she has learned how to be a leader. 

“You learn how to lead your section to complete goals and how to work for something and achieve success after putting everything you have into the goal,” Graham said. “Marching band has taught me how to be a leader, and do the job well, but still have fun at the same time.”