HHS band plays with Marching Royal Dukes

Lucie Rutherford, Editor-in-Chief

For the past three years, the Marching Royal Dukes, JMU’s band, has invited high school students from all over the East Coast to join them in a halftime performance at one of the Saturday football games. The day has had more participants each year, and Sep. 10 set the record at over 500 high school musicians. About ten members of Harrisonburg High School’s band contributed to that 500. Along with the other high schools from near and far, members from the HHS color guard and band met at JMU at 9:00 a.m. to practice all day, with the exception of a meal, and show what they’ve learned in the song ‘Get It On’ in front of thousands of Dukes fans.

Harrisonburg junior trumpet player Juan Romero has been playing trumpet for eight years.

“I’m mostly excited to play ‘Get It On’ with the MRDs, marching on, watching the game, everything,” Romero said. “Normal high school performances are just about 150 people, but this time it’s like 500 plus, it’s going to be insane.”

This year marks junior JMU drum major Chris Pennington’s third year as part of Band Day.

“[This] is an opportunity for high schoolers to kind of get an idea of what we do at a college level,” Pennington said. “We don’t use it as a recruiting tool, obviously we get to show off our lovely campus, but it’s for them to get an idea about what the process is like, especially if they are considering pursuing music…at the collegiate level.”

Though Pennington has been with the program for three years, he never got the opportunity to participate as a high school student.

“I wish I had been able to come in high school because getting to see all the kids and the way that they interact with all the college students, and that bond that they get to form is really special. I wish I could have had the opportunity to do it,” Pennington said.

Ethan Scribano is also a junior in the HHS band, and reflected on his time rehearsing with the Dukes.

“Today is a day where high school students from around the area, some have come from Vermont and Baltimore, come and practice with the MRDs…We go to the game, watch the first half, then we play a song with them at halftime,” Scribano said.

For Scribano, rehearsing with collegiate band was a lot different than his usual high school practices.

“It’s a lot more casual because they can’t really control all of us, but we still get a lot more done because they’re more focused than us,” Scribano said. “But just to perform on the field in front of everyone, I think that’s always fun to do.”