Band Program Popular With Students, Pleases Crowds, Builds Character

Ava Vande Corput, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

You often hear them at the football games, basketball games, in the mornings and even in this year’s musical, but other than that not a lot of people know a lot about the Notre Dame Academy Band.

Bill Hill directs the Notre Dame Academy Band that practices every school day.

“Mr. Hill is an awesome teacher who does so much for the music program at NDA,” said saxophone player Theo Van Straten.

Being in the school band means that you also have to be in pep band, which can be a major commitment.

If they have an event on the school night, they stay in the stands until after halftime. If it is a weekend, then they stay and play the whole game.

Even though everyone must be in pep band, they do get credit for playing.

However, the commitment is worth it according to six individuals that were interviewed.

“It’s my passion and lifestyle,” said Drew Gunville, percussion player.

“I’m in band because I love playing my bass and learning to play various styles of music,” said Ben Jensen.

“I’m in the school band because I enjoy creating the music and being part of a group that is bigger than just me, or my section playing,” said Theo Van Straten.

Even though being in band is a big commitment, there are also a lot of perks.

One of these perks is the band trip that happens every other year.

Last year that band visited Nashville, Tennessee, to play at and see different musical events.

“My fondest memory of band would probably have to be wearing my Heelys in Walmart at 2 a.m. and buying a coconut named Phil on the band trip,” said Theo Van Straten.

“My fondest memory of band was the trip to Nashville, Tennessee. I liked the trip except for trying to sleep on a very cramped bus,” said Kennedy Bowes, clarinet player.

Another perk of being in band is getting to play at all the state games that Notre Dame participates in every once in awhile.

“My favorite memory would have to be playing in the state football game this year in Madison, Wisconsin,” said Sam Van Straten.

“The band trip to Madison for State is my fondest memory of band. I loved being able to play in Camp Randall because it was my first large venue and for sure a memorable experience,” said guitar and bass player Ben Jensen.

Playing in the band is hard work, but it is a class that many people look forward to as a place where they can be themselves and change up the school day of structured classes.

“My favorite thing about band is just having a class set apart to play music that brightens the day,” said Jensen.

“The favorite thing about band would have to be the atmosphere and the students,” said Gunville.

The band is not only an extracurricular event, but it is also a family to many of the students.

“The Notre Dame Academy band creates a cool and supportive environment that you can always depend on,” said saxophone player Sam Van Straten.

It is an activity where the students not only learn how to play an instrument, but they also learn things that impact their life forever.

“The things you learn in band will stay with you for your whole life, and it’s a great program that keeps you out of trouble,” said Gunville.