COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Music to their ears. Along with all sports, high school marching bands are also a go this fall.
“We are the Friday night, we are part of the environment,” said Eric Ji, Columbiana senior drum major assistant. “We are part of the football field. A football game is not the same without a band.”
The Columbiana Marching Band has been practicing since July 13, often four-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week.
On Tuesday, when Governor DeWine officially gave them clearance to play this fall, it was quite a high note.
“I would say that everybody is super excited,” said Charles Miller, Columbiana Band Director. “There was a lot of uncertainty of not knowing what the expectations were going to be, what the guidance was going to be from the governor. So I think the kids are really excited and ready to go.”
“The reason that so many kids come here is just such a positive environment and so much fun to be there for Friday nights,” said Morgan Dunlap, Columbiana senior drum major. “We’re all just really excited about that.”
Staying up-to-date with safety protocols has been a priority from the start, which is no small undertaking. The Columbiana Band has 73 members, compared to just 33 players on the football team. Just like for the athletes, band spectators are limited to family or those close to the student this year.
“I think the biggest thing is, that we’re excited to just do it,” said Miller. “This is what everybody kind of lives and breathes for when you’re in the band world.”
The Clippers will have at least four opportunities to play at Firestone Park, starting next Friday in a game against United. Their fourth home game comes in Week 10, after the official regular season ends, against Western Reserve.
“Our band has played a huge role with us,” said Bob Spaite, Columbiana head football coach. “They’ve done a great job of supporting us and we try to support them in everything they do.”
They may be performing in front of just a few hundred fans this year, but these Clippers are ready to be heard.
“We’re ready to go,” said Ji. “We are ready to just bring all that energy to the football game.”
“We’re going to get the crowd that’s there going, we’re going to get the kids pumped up and cheering,” said Miller. “We want to make sure that the atmosphere is still high energy.”