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Friday Night Football: The value of the band

Eau Claire, Wis. (WEAU) -- It is the sound we have come to know and expect at any football game. Louder than fans or the action on the field, the high school band reigns supreme.

But like any activity, it has its share of challenges.

"Our freshmen come in, they're really excited about the program," said Nick Drayton, a student teacher from UW-Eau Claire, working at North High School.

He knows working through budget cuts and keeping kids engaged through high school is part of a band director's job.

"You have to go down and get those middle school kids excited for continuing on," he said.

Even though kids have all kinds of choices when they get to high school, senior Victor Bennett has stuck by the band since 5th grade. Trumpet by his side, pep band a highlight.

"Play fun tunes with a whole bunch of friends, and afterward go hang out with the student body," he said.

Music runs in his family. His trumpet is the same one his mom used when she was younger. His grandma was a trumpet player, too. Three generations of love for music.

"I don't know how to put it into words, it's always been a big part of our lives, always has been, whether it's pep band, jazz band, wind ensemble," said Victoria Monzon, Victor's mom.

White hats, blue pants, hard to distinguish who is who among the band. But each of them, have their own reasons for sticking with it.

"It feels great knowing we are the energy drivers for our team and supporting our school," said Hannah Guckenburg, a member of the band.

"We just really try to set a tone for the rest of the crowd and we're all really pumped to be playing tonight," said John Idarraga, a senior percussion major.

And while it is usually our ears that give the band the attention, on Friday they took their turn in the spotlight, providing both sights and sounds of what gives Friday night football its feeling.


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