Klahowya marching bands students stretch before practice Monday night.
I messed up. South Kitsap Sun reporter Chris Henry did a very nice and involved story in Sunday’s paper about the South Kitsap High School marching band’s trip to the Rose Bowl. Big congrats to Chris (who gets to tag along to Pasadena) and the SKHS band members. Unfortunately, Klahowya’s Marching Eagles did not get the treatment they deserve for a similar feat.
The KHS band will march in the Port of San Diego Big Balloon Parade on the morning of Dec. 30 and then perform that night with about 2o other bands during the 31st annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. KHS students, band boosters and parents have raised over $80,000 and planned and worked just as hard as SKHS, but I did not give them the coverage they deserve. I am sorry. A really big sorry to KHS band director Jeff McBirnie, a nice young guy out there working his tail off for KHS.
I went out tonight to watch the Eagles’ last practice before they leave this coming Sunday. It was cold and rainy and really, really dark (Seabeck-dark.) Yet there the band members were – instruments in hand, drums strapped on. One girl was even wearing shorts – she must be PNW-native. They marched all around the back parking lot for an hour while I, the big newspaper wimp, hung out inside because my hands were cold. I know the KHS band will have a great time in San Diego and make memories for years to come. And now their parents will have a newspaper story to cutout and keep. It should be in Wednesday’s paper.
On a side note, I was chatting with McBirnie before the kids started marching. The kids were doing laps around the basketball court and stretching exercises in preparation for marching. It was a shortened warm-up session, he said, because of time. Normally they do several laps and extended stretching work. He also said the KHS field show routine amounted to about a half-mile of marching. And keep in mind that marching bands practicing for field show perform the routine hundreds and hundreds of times throughout late August and on into November. Or in the case of KHS, into the end of December!
I mentioned that it was too bad the marching band kids don’t get P.E. credit for marching, considering how physical it is for many of them. (In the interest of full disclosure you should know that my son plays tuba in the Central Kitsap High School marching band.) McBirnie said he and Michael Woods, CK’s band director, have brought up that subject with CK central administration, but no policy changes have been made. It’s not so much that McBirnie, Woods (and me, frankly) want the kids to get out of P.E. or to be lazy. It’s more of a schedule problem.
My son, for example, will not get any P.E. credit this year. His class schedule does not allow for band AND P.E. during the school day. He tried to get into the zero-hour (that’s before school at like, o-crack thirty) P.E. class, but it was full. Summer school P.E. is a possiblity, except that would preclude him from going on our church mission trip and Scout camp – two very vauable, positive things in his life. I hope he doesn’t become the kid who has to drop band in order to get P.E. credits.
I’m guessing there are schools out there that allow for P.E. credits for marching band, but it’s a tough week to find that out as all the school folks are on vacation. Anyone out there know if North Kitsap, Bremerton or other local schools have this policy?