Marching band celebrates rock of Seattle in the Homecoming halftime show

Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters showcased in this year’s field show

Hugo Heim Romero, Staff Reporter

Every October, the school’s most anticipated football game takes place: Homecoming. Some attendees are drawn in by the intense matchup or the showcase of school spirit, but for others, the marching band’s halftime show is the highlight of the night.

To prepare for the field show, band students use spreadsheets that mark each student’s spot in the shapes. (Annie Welman)

The band’s performance has a different theme every year. In the past, the themes have been Aretha Franklin and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but this year, the show was aptly titled “Rock of Seattle”: an homage to iconic music that has emerged from the local rock scene.

“We’ve had a lot of really famous bands come out of the area: Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Nirvana. So I [thought] it’d be cool to celebrate them and Seattle heritage,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie’s goal was to honor Seattle’s long music history, evident in the choreography of the show. The band formed a multitude of complex shapes, like the Space Needle, a guitar and the Foo Fighter’s logo.

“We’ve had a lot of really famous bands come out of the area: Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Nirvana. So I [thought] it’d be cool to celebrate them and Seattle heritage,””

— Jay Gillespie

They also performed three rock songs: “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana and “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam.

Gillespie started planning the performance over the summer, choosing a theme, picking and teaching music and designing shape spreadsheets for students. Overall, he spent upwards of 30 to 40 hours on it.

Senior Robert Starnes, marching band sousaphone player, talked about the effort he and the rest of the band put in. The band members spent around three weeks practicing, and on the day of the game, they were excused from their classes to spend the whole school day rehearsing, around six hours.

During a phase of the halftime show called the “scatter drill,” the saxophone section takes a selfie. (Arden Rathkopf)

Despite the many hours of practice, band members still felt anxious.

“Lots of people were nervous,” Starnes said. “[But] I think a lot of the band members were very happy with it. A lot of people were saying that it’s one of our better performances in the last few years.”

Starnes attributed this success to the work put into the performance this year.

“I think that this one had a lot more time and effort put behind it … I think it was much more planned out, as opposed to the previous years,” Starnes said.

After months of planning and preparation, band members were proud of the way the show came together and ran smoothly.