By Joseph Pratt
August 15, 2014
The walking band
Northwest High School Marching Band is currently preparing for marching season with an effective infected theme of the zombie apocalypse.
Christina Stephan, director of bands, has been leading the Northwest students on the field for nine years. Her first three years were spent as assistant to the director, before becoming director 6 years ago. Stephan also instructs members of the band in grades six through 12, as well as a music theory class. The assistant director of bands this year is Calli Huff.
“This year’s show is completely centered on the theme of the zombie apocalypse and is called ‘Infected.’ It is basically about a disease that starts off and starts to infect members of the band as they go along,” Stephan explained.
The music is modern and even features a synthesizer, which is the first time Northwest has utilized the electrical instrument on the field. All of the music is written by a Kentucky native named John Fannin.
The show is described as being very theatrical and similar to today’s Drum Corps International (DCI) performances.
“The show is very theatrical and in your face full of fun. It is kind of based on the show “The Walking Dead.” Fans of the show should really like it,” Stephan said.
The show is picked each year by band officials. When they were brainstorming ideas for the 2014 marching season, they were reviewing current popular themes and zombies seemed like a winner.
“Hopefully, everyone will really love it. We have a very supportive community out at Northwest and we appreciate all of their support,” Stephan said. “It seems like no matter what we do, we earn their support.”
Even though Northwest is one of the larger bands in the county, Stephan doesn’t look at it in any particular way.
“Overall, in the entire community, we are seeing increased participation in music. I think everyone is doing a really good job,” Stephan said. “We are all in this community together and it isn’t a competitive thing; we just want the kids to have a good music education.”
The Northwest High School Marching Band currently has 87 enrolled members.
Josh Martin, senior, is section leader of the drum line this year. Band is a very passionate topic for the drummer, having been a dedicated member since sixth grade. Martin hopes to pursue a career in instructing band.
“This year’s show is a good change for us. It is definitely a change in style, but I really like it,” Martin said. “We haven’t done a show that has been as theatrically heavy as this one is. We are just going out on the field and pouring our hearts into the performance.”
Martin says that the show starts off with one member of the band becoming infected. The rest of the band attempts to save her, but fails, because there is no cure.
“I think people will like it. It will be different, especially for us,” Martin said. “There are a lot of bands out there known for performing shows that are pretty out there, but our following will definitely react to it in a good way, and will be able to tell a difference.”
The band will also be competing this year, with an itinerary so far consisting of six different local competitions.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.