MHS Cavemen March On
The Mishawaka High School (MHS) Marching Cavemen will have their second home performance on Sept. 28. This season’s marching show presents the music of Bruno Mars. A total of 135 students make up the Marching Cavemen. Their debut performance, on Aug. 24, featured a fraction of the band’s full show. Music Department Chair Dennis Gamble said, “Bringing contemporary music to our home crowd is always a great way to get them going at games. The band will eventually perform ‘24K Magic, Uptown Funk and Runaway Baby.’ Our performances get longer throughout the season as we add songs and refine movements with music.”
Band members and directors alike are excited about this year’s theme. Third year band member Morgan Hardy said, “This year's show is so fun. It's well-known and upbeat which makes it enjoyable for both viewers and band members. I would say that bubbly energy is one of the best part about this year's show.”
The band performances are a labor of love that begins in early August. Band members begin preparing the show two weeks before the start of the school year. These two weeks are referred to as band camp. MHS assistant band director Kaleb Chamberlain said, “The band members rehearse four and a half hours a day Monday - Friday for a total of 45 hours. We learn marching fundamentals, the pregame and halftime music, and how to put the two together. It can be a tough two weeks, but we try to keep the students motivated with fun games and activities throughout - including ending the second week with 800 water balloons.” Gamble added, “Marching bands only look good if everyone is marching with the same posture and in step. They also learn and drill spatial relationships on a football field so that the formations are consistent and uniform.” Gamble continued, “The music is learned and rehearsed until it sounds great. We then put music and marching together. This relationship is vital because the marching forms don't make sense unless it is coordinated closely with the music.”
Band camp not only helps to build the fundamentals of the show, but it also serves as a bonding experience for the members. Senior Drum Major Jonathan Ruprecht said, “At the start of the year, you start as a big group of awkward friends, but as the year goes by you slowly become closer to those friends, so close that those people you didn't even know become your best friends, or even your family.”
Band members continue to work towards improving the show after the school year begins, as well. Hardy said, “During football season, we spend an hour and a half each Tuesday and Thursday night practicing. We also march during class when the weather allows us to, so a lot of time is put into marching and playing the music as well.”
The recent track and field improvements have presented some obstacles for the marching band. “The field improvements often keep us off of the big field which can be frustrating at times. The practice field is smaller than the main field, so we can't fully practice pre-game on it,” said Hardy. “ The field improvements make it a little more difficult to practice, but we make due with what we have so that we can make the marching show as good as it can possibly be,” added Ruprecht.
Later in the season, the band will compete in two different marching band competitions at Hobart High School on Sat. Sept. 22 and at Crown Point High School on Sat. Sept. 29.