For the primary time in additional than a yr, Janesville Craig Excessive Faculty marching band member Trevor Wright was feeling the burden of a giant, brass tuba.
The highschool senior stated his again and shoulders ached from the burden of the large, tub horn. Ache apart, after an hour apply on a Thursday afternoon within the band room at Craig Excessive Faculty, Wright discovered himself in again within the pocket.
Clad in shorts and a crimson Hawaiian-style shirt, Wright was nailing down the shuffling, low-end bass line of Neil Diamond’s basic music “Candy Caroline.” He was jamming alongside about 15 members of Craig’s marching band—and about 15 of his cross-town counterparts from the Parker Excessive Faculty marching band.
After greater than a yr of his faculty’s marching band being primarily shelved—barred from performances and fractured in ranks by restricted, socially-distanced practices through the COVID-19 pandemic, each Craig and Janesville Parker excessive faculties’ marching bands are again in motion.
This Friday night time, each Parker Excessive Faculty and Craig Excessive Colleges’ marching bands—45 or so members in all—are set to make a giant noise of their first main public efficiency for the reason that begin of the pandemic.
Friday night time through the Tour of America’s Dairyland City Sq. Gran Prix bicycle races in downtown Janesville, the 2 bands will to carry out collectively, brass devices and drums unfold out in a formation throughout city sq.’s riverfront footbridge, proper on the heart of the town.
Organizers say it’s the primary time in reminiscence that that each crosstown excessive faculties’ bands will carry out collectively, in unison. The joint efficiency is aimed partly at burying a longstanding rivalry between the town’s two excessive faculties.
Half Kumbaya second, half leisure, organizers say the bands’ joint efficiency is conceived as a musical celebration of one of many first main public occasions the town’s had for the reason that pandemic hit in February 2020.
Craig Excessive Faculty Principal Alison Bjoin stated the Gran Prix’s native organizers are working to advertise the efficiency as an event-within-an-event. The hope is households and college students of all ages can be drawn to come back downtown to see the highschool bands play after which watch the races.
It might put an area pupil efficiency on the heart of the town—and on the heart of a national-circuit bike race that since 2018 has discovered a brand new residence and has cultivated an annual viewers of hundreds.
“Not solely is it an excellent alternative for these pupil bands to lastly get out and carry out, but it surely’s an opportunity to do one thing type of social. Issues like pupil subject journeys have not actually occurred within the final yr and a half,” Bjoin stated. “The organizers are making the bands’ efficiency extra than simply play and go. There’s type of a social piece of it for youths, too. That’s what’s actually particular,” Bjoin stated.
Parker Excessive Faculty Band Director John Biester and Craig Excessive Faculty Band Director Andrew Redler stated college students at each excessive faculties are conscious of a longstanding, crosstown rivalry between the 2 faculties.
Biester stated the rivalry appears to have been rooted across the time Parker Excessive Faculty was established on the town’s west facet. It was a number of years after Craig Excessive Faculty was constructed.
On the time, the town’s west facet was nonetheless seen by some locals as rural and provincial.
Biester stated because the west facet has constructed up and grown through the years, the rivalry has appeared to lose a few of its unique steam.
Biester stated he hopes the joint efficiency will mark the beginning of extra common collaborations of the 2 faculties’ marching bands.
As the 2 bands practiced collectively to gear up for the efficiency on the massive bike races, Biester advised the scholars as a lot.
“You two bands are taking part in collectively for the primary time for the reason that begin of the human race. Notice that,” Biester stated. “However what’s extra essential is that you just understand this: You guys sound actually nice collectively proper now. That is good. You’re going to make this occur.”