While Mount Douglas secondary is making waves in the high school AAA football world, the spotlight will shine on Spectrum community school at this weekend’s CFL Grey Cup festivities.
Ninety-two musically inclined students will travel to Vancouver tomorrow morning (Nov. 26) to march in the parade that prefaces Sunday’s match-up between the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“I put it to the kids to decide between doing this and (Victoria’s) Santa Claus parade. They thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” band teacher Jamie Davis said. “The kids are pumped about it, and I’m really excited for them.”
The marching band students are no strangers to pressure. Performing in parades that route through crowded streets is a staple of the program – but they’re expecting this one to be a little different.
“It’s a bigger deal than any other (parade) we’ve done,” Grade 11 student Matt Montgomery said.
“This is more nerve-racking. We have a bigger audience – I think it gets shown on TV all across Canada,” added Megan Greenwood, also in Grade 11.
A lot can go wrong when marching, she said.
It’s not just the performance of a song – there’s also the requirement of marching in unison, memorizing the music, maintaining good posture, and ensuring your instrument is always up and presentable. And then there are the challenges presented by the weather.
The band has practised outdoors in the morning chill this week to prepare for the wind, rain and cold that could grip Vancouver on Saturday.
“It takes a lot of concentration,” Greenwood said. “It’s hard work.”
The students will perform Harold Bennett’s Advance March while taking part in the parade along with the myriad floats, dancers and 13 other marching bands winding their way through downtown Vancouver. Victoria’s Corey Monteith (star of the hit TV show Glee) is the parade grand marshal.
“It’s the performance aspect of this that’s exciting to them,” band teacher Davis said about the Grade 9 through 12 students participating in such a unique parade venue. “That’s what all of them look forward to. Nobody wants to just sit in the band room and perform every four months. They want to showcase what they learn, showcase what they do – and this is a great stage to do that.”