Band students receive big opportunity

Madison Deadman, A&E Editor

894495_10201681509832369_1592619750_oBy A&E Editor: Madison Deadman

This past Nov. 2, some of Howell High School’s band students were given the opportunity to participate in the University of Michigan vs. Michigan Technological University hockey game. Every year the band students are able to take the place of the U of M hockey band in one of their collegiate hockey games. Mr. Jason Smigell is an alumni of U of M and was the director of the hockey band as a grad student. Because of this, he is able to supply his students this amazing opportunity.

However, the students have to go through a nerve-wracking audition process in which they have to play “The Victors” for Mr. Smigell. From their audition Mr. Smigell picks around 70 of his most skilled players to go down to the Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, MI.

The band members have four rehearsals to learn the college-level music before they play at the arena. In these rehearsals, they learn some of U of M’s favorite stand jams (well-known tunes to get the college students fired up) including “Let’s Go Blue” and the Blues Brothers theme song. They also put their own Howell twist on things with some of their favorite songs and even add Howell’s famous bagpipes.

Upon their arrival in a Charter bus they are supplied with complimentary food prepared by the U of M kitchen staff and are given free T-shirts.

“We pretty much get the royal treatment,” says Connor Norton, a junior on drumline and part of the wind and percussion ensemble.

They are then crammed into a tiny part of the stands that is blocked off especially for them and Mr. Smigell is given a podium. The student section is always very supportive.

“Everything is pretty chill until Smigell sees the first U of M hockey player put his skate on the ice. He turns around and yells, ‘Team’s on the ice!’ and everyone better be ready for that down beat of M Fanfare,” says Norton.

The band has to be on their toes and ready to play at all times. Whenever a play stops, it is their time to shine and they try to get as much playing time as possible.

The student section is always more than happy to have them. They are very supportive and more than enthusiastic.

Norton describes them plainly but simply, “Hockey fans are… shall we say passionate?”

Hockey band is a great thing to do in high school. Students get to know each other more, bond, and cheer for their team of choice all through their love of music.

“It was really cool being in that band because it’s the same music we play when we do pep band for our football games, but at the Michigan hockey games, the game revolves around the band and that makes it awesome,” says senior Natalie Dunn, a tuba player who has participated in hockey band all four years.