MARCHING BAND BRINGS ENERGY
Shoremen show passion for music education
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.