Shore­men show pas­sion for mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Martin kmartin@morningjournal. com @MJKev­inMartin1 on Twit­ter

The dec­o­rated Avon Lake March­ing Shore­men rep­re­sent com­mit­ment on and off the field while on a quest for an­other trip to the state fi­nals.

Un­der the bright lights of the grid­iron, the 120 strong March­ing Shore­men took over the Joe Fir­ment Chevro­let Sta­dium, 3075 Stoney Ridge Road in Avon, at half­time Sept. 8 dur­ing the foot­ball game on the road against ri­val Avon Ea­gles.

With Avon Lake trail­ing 31-6, the March­ing Shore­men launched into their pro­gram “To the Moon” with a se­lec­tion of pieces ex­plor­ing the odysseys of space ex­plo­ration in­clud­ing David Bowie’s “Space Odyssey, Beethoven’s Moon­light Sonata” and the Frank Si­na­tra clas­sic “Fly me to the Moon.”

“When half­time comes, it is a whole other realm; that is game time for us,” said Avon Lake band di­rec­tor David Ed­dle­man.

From the shores of ma­jes­tic Lake Erie, the band is known for pulling out its trade­mark her­ald trum­pets at Avon Lake Memo­rial Sta­dium be­fore the start of each game.

For­mer Avon Lake band di­rec­tor Harry Pf­in­g­sten pur­chased 16 of the 100 trum­pets which were used in the 1984 Sum­mer Olympic Games in Los An­ge­les.

A tra­di­tion since 1985, Avon Lake is the only place

“When half­time comes, it is a whole other realm; that is game time for us.”

— Avon Lake band di­rec­tor David Ed­dle­man

in the state of Ohio where peo­ple can get the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence them up close.

“We take them out if it’s a home game, and I think it makes them feel a sense of pride and tra­di­tion know­ing they were ac­tu­ally played in the LA Olympics in 1984,” Pf­in­g­sten said. “They have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the his­tory.”

Ed­dle­man has presided over the March­ing Shore­men and the district’s in­stru­men­tal depart­ment for the past 13 years. He also over­sees more than 500 stu­dents who par­tic­i­pate in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion through a mul­ti­tude of in­stru­men­tal en­sem­bles and choir en­com­pass­ing more than a 50 per­cent par­tic­i­pa­tion rate at the school.

District wide, Avon Lake demon­strates an early com­mit­ment to mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion with an 80 per­cent par­tic­i­pa­tion

rate among fifth graders, schools of­fi­cials said.

“It has been go­ing on for a long time and I think it is a re­flec­tion of the com­mu­nity,” Ed­dle­man said. “Just as much as they love sports and aca­demics, they love the arts.”

A con­test band, the March­ing Shore­men are in the midst of pre­par­ing for their first com­pe­ti­tion of the sea­son Sept. 23 at Re­vere High School in Richfield, be­fore host­ing their own judged com­pe­ti­tion Sept. 30.

The band has qual­i­fied for state fi­nals seven times, and is aim­ing to re­turn for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year.

Band Pres­i­dent Mary Ross, an 18-year-old se­nior at Avon Lake High School, started par­tic­i­pat­ing in the in­stru­men­tal mu­sic pro­gram in the sixth grade and plays alto sax­o­phone.

“We just fin­ished learn­ing all of our show’s songs and Fri­day (Sept. 15) will be the first night we will

be putting our en­tire show on the field,” Ross said. “So, we’ve come a long way be­cause in our en­tire pro­gram, we have 62 songs we have to mem­o­rize.”

The ca­ma­raderie de­vel­oped be­tween in­stru­men­tal sec­tions and the prepa­ra­tion re­quired to per­form through­out the course of the sea­son de­vel­ops early, of­fi­cials said.

The weekly half­time dis­plays are a re­sult of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion, they said.

“We are very de­ter­mined to get our show done and it is ac­tu­ally pretty amaz­ing to ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether in uni­son in uni­form,” Ross said.

Prepa­ra­tion is a year­long en­deavor with sum­mer band camp and mem­o­riz­ing the 62 song cat­a­logue in their pro­gram in ad­di­tion to move­ment and placement on the field re­sult­ing in part from prac­tic­ing 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. dur­ing the sum­mer.

“You spend a lot of time

with your sec­tion, so a lot of the mem­bers get ac­cli­mated with a lot of the new mem­bers,” Ross said. “Re­ally for me, that is where I made most of my friends in band.”

Their seven-minute half­time pro­gram alone con­tains more than 60 pages of drill move­ments which must be mem­o­rized along with all of the mu­sic.

“What peo­ple don’t know is how rig­or­ous the train­ing is,” Ed­dle­man said. “Most peo­ple look at a march­ing band from the out­side and they don’t see all the stuff be­hind the scenes and how that 100-mem­ber group func­tions in a co­he­sive way.”

Em­brac­ing di­ver­sity and draw­ing lead­er­ship in­spi­ra­tion from busi­ness, ed­u­ca­tion and mu­sic, he added the band has a cross-fit train­ing pro­gram with ex­er­cises specif­i­cally geared to march­ing band and a vis­ual train­ing pro­gram in­cor­po­rat­ing el­e­ments from mil­i­tary train­ing.


Sopho­more ma­jorette Me­gan Graves per­forms with the Avon Lake High School March­ing Band dur­ing the Shore­men’s road game Sept. 8, against the Avon Ea­gles.


The Avon Lake High School March­ing Band’s per­cus­sion line per­forms Sept. 8, dur­ing the Shore­men’s road game against the Avon Ea­gles.

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