Band, Ten-Hut! The Day-to-Day Life of the Dover Band


Claire Giesey, Staff Writer


The Dover Marching Tornadoes are part of what makes the games of the Dover Tornadoes so fun. From the Death March to the Halftime Show, to the exit off the field after an intense game, the band is there to support the football team through loss and victory. But what, exactly, goes into things like the Halftime Shows and the Death March? And what happens outside of practice? 


Life as a part of the Dover band is quite interesting! Waking up, you have to put into thought what outfit will be comfortable in practice after school. Though you may change at the field, most kids in the band opt to wear normal shorts and t-shirts to keep them as cool as possible for after school. Makeup is also an iffy decision, as it may sweat off on the field.  Water, too, is essential for anyone in the band! Hydration is always a constant concern, meaning no matter what, you must at least buy water during lunch to keep from passing out during the Death March! It got its name for a reason!


The school day is mostly normal for members of the band. Going to classes, socializing, and learning is a part of any student’s daily routine! At the end of the day, one of two things happens: you stay at school in the band room, mostly on Mondays or Fridays, or you hop on a bus or in your car and drive straight to Crater Stadium. 


On Mondays, you simply stay at school in the band room. Those days include Monday Night Lights! On those days, you can relax and do any homework you were assigned that day. At 6:30, you are in your assigned spot on the field to begin practice! The band works especially hard on those days to prepare for the home games or halftime shows they have that week, all the way until 9:30 pm. In the end, the section that worked the hardest showed the most leadership, and ultimately made the band better is awarded The Bat, a small wooden stick which is an icon in the band for working hard and getting rewarded for it. I interviewed a few members of the section that most recently won The Bat- the piccolos. 


Natalie Nealey commented, “I’m very proud of our section. We worked very hard to get here.”


“Our section isn’t heard as loud,” said Chelsie Doney. “So the recognition for our efforts is great.”


Olivia Yackey chimed in as well. “Connor Fix (who recently moved) would be very proud.”


Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are pretty normal in comparison to other days. As said before, on those days, band members truck over to Crater Stadium and march on the grassy fields outside. From 2:15 to 4 pm, the band works hard to shine up on any songs they’re not so good at yet, and to laugh and socialize with the other members of the band!


Fridays are the most action-packed days of the week. After school, it is a hustle. If you decide to do your weekend homework on those nights, be prepared; you’ll need to do it as quickly as possible so you can check all your supplies off! Your band hat, gloves, shoes, and anything else that you need should be in pristine condition! If you have long hair, you need to tie it up beforehand, that way it looks sleek and professional! Then, eat a good dinner before rushing back to the high school when the trailer opens. Getting into your uniform for the band can be entertaining because there are multiple parts of the uniform that can be complicated if you’re not as experienced as a junior or senior, but not to worry. There are plenty of people in the band that will be happy to help at any point during the school year, especially with any pre-game problems!


Then comes the Death March. After being inspected to see if you look as uniform as the rest of the band, you prepare to step off. Stepping off for your first Death March can be nerve-wracking for some, but with the practice that we go through throughout band camp in the summer, it should feel like second nature once you get into the groove of it. Still, it can be hot, long, and difficult. But even so, the feeling of completing even your first Death March is an amazing feeling that you’ll never forget. Even if you have to chug an entire bottle of water afterward!


During the game, the band provides the iconic soundtrack. This year, it includes the Subway Surfers theme, Ain’t Been Good, and more! They get involved with the cheers from the cheerleaders sometimes as well, which is always incredible to do!


Halftime is the height of the night for the Marching Tornadoes. Watching the other bands play and seeing what sort of songs they have sometimes inspires the Directors to incorporate some ideas into future shows, especially if they also have a dance break! When you march onto the field, you will sometimes give the illusion of a swarm, swallowing up the field below and bringing on the best of the best. Playing the music and marching at the same time can be a tall task, but with practice, it gets easier and easier, as all things do. The band dance break is always the best part of the show. All in all, halftime is the best way to show off all the hard work you’ve been doing.


Afterward, the band is dismissed for the third quarter. This is when the band can finally get something to eat, hang out with friends, talk to their families about how cool they were on the field, or just sit back down and watch the game. If you’re worried the lines for the bathroom or the concession stands are too long, don’t worry! Most of the time you have more time than you think. And even if you’re a few minutes late, the directors are pretty lenient if it was just that. Be careful, though. If it wasn’t, you risk the third quarter being taken away from you, and going the rest of the game without seeing your family and friends or simply just getting food is pretty rough. Listen to your directors, and you’ll be just fine!


Finally, at the end of the night is the march out of the field after the team wins. Then is the time to get loud enough to blow the ear off of anyone left in the stadium! Most people, in the beginning, have to sprint to keep up with the rest of the band, but that makes it even more fun! There’s no other feeling like marching with pride out of the gates of the field!


After the game, most sections decide that it’s the perfect time to bond with the other members, so they head out to whatever restaurant they can find and chow down with whatever money they have left after the third quarter. These moments are arguably the most treasured out of any other time in the band. Whether it’s going to Buffalo Wild Wings and cracking up laughing over all the ranch your fellow band member was given by mistake, or accidentally hitting one in the face with a sugar packet, you’re bound to make memories with them no matter what.


Truly, being a part of the Dover Marching Tornadoes is all about the memories that you make. Good or bad, big or small, every day spent is a memorable experience. And if you pull through to the final game of your senior year, or quit after just a few days of summer band camp, you’ll always be able to look back and smile at all of the friends you’ve made.