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Behind the band: the world of Band Parents

No MC Friday football game is complete without an outstanding performance by our award-winning band. In this year’s space-themed field show, the hard work and dedication of the Marching Sundevils is apparent in their militant footwork, talented playing, and overall musical prowess. While all eyes are on the band during the field show, however, a whole different world is behind its success. This world is that of the Band Parents.

The Band Parents follow after the band as they
march up to the stadium Photo Credit |
Francesca Hodges

The Band Parents, adorned with identifying badges and distinct yellow aprons, can be seen on Friday nights rolling in two hours before the game, ready to work. They set up music stands, hand out water bottles, move percussion instruments, tuck in flyaways, and straighten chakkos–the precious giant red plumes atop hats.

During one of the few breaks the players had, Jennifer McQueen shared her experience of being a Band Mom and all the time and effort the parents put into the field show.

“This is my second year as a band parent and I’d say that it can be a lot of work, depending on your position, but it’s really more about proper preparation and just making sure the kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and most importantly [making sure they’re] having fun,” McQueen said.

With the importance of the kids’ experience in mind, Band Parents are always determined to put in copious amounts of their own time, to ensure the success of their children.  

“Tournaments are probably the most work because of how long they are,” McQueen said, “If it’s up in L.A. or Vista, or Arcadia, they’re all day. If it’s local, then it’s just an afternoon call time and the kids show up and play and stay for awards,” McQueen said.

Photo Credit | Francesca Hodges
The pristine uniform of the Marching
Sundevils Photo Credit | Francesca

Bruce Powelson, Band Dad and father to junior trumpet player Nowel Powelson, has many heavy-lifting jobs and is also a key part of the upcoming Mt. Carmel Band Tournament.

“I have a dual role because I’m a band parent and I’m involved in our tournament. As a band dad, we have to make sure all the stuff gets pushed up to the field,” Powelson said.

For each field show, this Band Dad is constantly on the move, setting up for the much anticipated performance.

“There’s electrical hookings for the synthesizers we have to set up, as well as all the stands, the roll-out mats,” Powelson said. “When they’re performing in parades or in tournaments, we load and unload the semi, it’s a lot of work.”

Photo Credit | Francesca Hodges
Band Parents rolling out pit instruments Photo
Credit | Francesca Hodges

The major event for the Marching Sundevils each year is the exclusive MC Band Tournament, one of the largest in attendance in Southern California.

“It’s going to be our biggest one yet and we’re expecting around 5,000 people,” Powelson said. “The first band rolls in at around 5:30 in the morning and the last one is at around 10 at night,” Powelson said, “And we have to be here before then, and the night before even though there’s a football game on that Friday which we’ll have to clear up and prepare the field. So we get about 4-5 hours of sleep that night, us parents.”

The lack of sleep is worth it for the parents, however, due to their child’s performance, the finished project of hours of hard work and practice. Powelson claims that this year’s show is the best one yet, even better than last year’s Entangoment, which brought a golden first place title home to MC at the Southern California Championships.

“Everyone will be impressed with the show this year,” Powelson said. “They have twice as many dots [performance positions] as last year!”

But of course, the Band Parents look past their children’s’ award-winning performances, and see the real value band provides.

“[Band] has given my daughter discipline and a reason to have to schedule her time,” McQueen said. “It’s given her a sense of family and she’s made really good friends.”

About Francesca Hodges

Francesca is a senior and currently a photographer and a Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Sun. She enjoys studying astronomy and watching period pieces. At MC, she is involved in Peer Counseling, Friendship Club, and the field hockey team. In the future she plans on attending UC Berkeley to major in Global Studies.

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