Dover High Band finds fundraiser rhythm

DOVER — The members of the Dover High School Senators Marching Band were on the clock at The Green on Saturday evening, trying to squeeze as many songs as they could into 45 minutes at the school’s annual Band-a-Thon fundraiser.

They completed 15 songs, including the National Anthem, the school fight song, three Journey classics, and several others with the temperature reaching near 90 degrees.

Now the Senators are really on the clock as the days start to fly by until Dover High’s first football game — aka marching band performance — at Archmere Academy on Sept. 8.

Football season is marching band season and a lot of sweat and effort goes into putting those pre-game and halftime shows together.

Dover High’s marching band just finished two weeks of band camp in which its members worked diligently from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day, learning new songs, marching patterns and flag and dance routines.

“We’ve been working for two weeks now in band camp and today kind of caps that event, so it’s cool to see all the hard work the students have all been putting out,” said Senator Band Director Garrett George.

“This group is great. It’s a young group. We don’t have many seniors and we’ve got a lot of freshmen trumpets, so it was kind of like a blank slate for a lot of the kids coming up through the beginning of band camp and it’s going to be very exciting to watch them grow.”

He added, “Our halftime show is going to be one of the most complicated ones we’ve done in a long time and I’m really excited for them.”

They had a lot of support on The Green on Saturday, as nearly 200 people gathered to enjoy their performance.

Ashton Griffith, a junior trumpet player, said he’s glad it’s marching band season again.

“It’s really exciting for me because I’ve practiced but I haven’t really played much music all summer,” he said. “Being back in band camp and being able to pick the trumpet back up is fun.

“Once you get back on the football field and you’re up in the grandstands you can just feel everybody’s energy when we all finish a good song, especially a song that everybody likes like ‘Skin.’”

Ashlyn Darling is a junior trombonist. She has been playing the trombone since fifth grade and said she loves it.

“I really like it, especially band camp,” she said. “We just finished it and it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t there for all of it but for the time that I was it was great.

“We have a lot of fun, but we get things done. I really like the music that we’re playing. Pride is a big thing, too. I really like that.”

Dover High School’s Rolling Thunder drum line got things going promptly as the clock struck six o’clock on Saturday, putting in 15 minutes of precision stickwork and exciting drum rhythms and moves.

The rest of the band got in on the act 15 minutes later and played until 7 p.m., drawing hearty applause after each number.

The Band-a-Thon serves as an annual fundraiser that assists each student in meeting his or her fundraising goals for the season, which includes a trip to perform in a national competition.

This year’s trip is undecided as of now.

“It’s one of the biggest fundraisers for the kids,” Mr. George said. “We take a spring trip every year, so they generate donations per song, so we’re trying play as many songs as possible.

Erlean Marvel is a member of the Senator Band Boosters and was selling 50-50 raffle tickets at the Band-a-Thon.

Her son is a sophomore trumpet player.

“It’s been fantastic,” Mrs. Marvel said. “It’s a great experience for him. I have two kids who love music and they’ve not just been in the marching band, but they’ve been in jazz band, band frontline and pep band … kind of all aspects of it.”

She said the thing that separates Dover from the rest of the marching bands in the state is that they have so much fun putting on their shows.

“I think it’s because we do ‘show-style’ instead of ‘corps-style’ and a lot of the kids like the ‘show-style’ because they get to do more dancing and movements instead of it just being precise movement,” Mrs. Marvel said.

“You can always tell they’re having a lot of fun and enjoying themselves.”

Even after two grueling weeks of band camp.

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