WJ marchers inspired by TBDBITL

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Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil

West Jefferson High School’s marching band includes: (front row, from left) Eric Jones, Michael Holben, Geneva Harper, Michael Bricker, Corey Wilson, Wade Beachy, Chris Bechtol, Chris Polczinski, Michael Koch, Jacob Turner, Maggie Tanner; (second row) John Erickson, Tyler Hadidon, Mandy Mendera, Bailey Gibson, Danielle King, Gillian Hall, Janice White, Zach Jones, Brian Sturgill, Heidi Sanderson, Christian Jacobs, Geoff Hall, Jordan Spann; (back row) Delaney Mathew, Nathan Sams, Jay Ehrick, Garrett Beachy, Lauryn Kronk, Sarah Sturgill, Angelic Sagraves, Katie Bradfield, Zach Pearson, Chris King, Josh Harding, Jake Pearson and Aaron Turner.

Elmer Broecker has injected enthusiasm into the West Jefferson High School marching band by introducing them to members of the “Best Damn Band in the Land”—that of The Ohio State University.

Broecker, West Jefferson’s new band director, has developed a connection with OSU’s program over his 26 years of teaching in small-school settings.

“My past bands have played in OSU Skull Sessions, and my bands at Lincoln View substituted for OSU’s band and alumni at basketball games when the students were off for winter break,” he said.

Broecker also has served as a guest director for OSU’s hockey and basketball bands. He’s now putting his connections to work for West Jefferson.

“I took the band to watch one of OSU’s summer sessions. They got to see them work on the fundamentals and see how hard you have to work to try out,” Broecker said.

He arranged for a fifth-year squad leader from OSU’s marching band to accompany the West Jefferson group to band camp at Rio Grande this summer. Additionally, Jamie White, a West Jefferson graduate and student at OSU, worked with the woodwinds at camp.

The Buckeye blitz doesn’t end there. Jonathan Waters, assistant director of OSU’s marching band, wrote the drill for West Jefferson’s 2008 half-time show.

The show, which the Roughriders will perform throughout the season and for contests, features the music of the band “Chicago.” As he has done for the last three years for West Jefferson, Frank Niemeyer III arranged the music. Aaron Bell wrote and taught the students the percussion parts.

The show’s first song, “Does Anyone Know What Time It Is,” spotlights senior trumpet soloist Jacob Turner and senior trombone soloist Michael Bricker.

The percussion line inserts a Latin rhythm into the middle of the second song, “Beginnings,” while a variety of soloists are featured in the ballad, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” The final song is a combination of “Make Me Smile” and “25 or 6 to 4.”

“We thought this music was something the band could handle and appropriate because it’s rock music with horn parts that kids seem to enjoy,” Broecker said.

Providing leadership from the sidelines this year are field commanders Christian Jacobs, a junior snare drum player, and Gillian Hall, a sophomore saxophone player.

Right now, West Jefferson’s marching band includes eighth-graders. Broecker hopes that enough new high school participants will join the band in coming years to eliminate the need for an infusion from the junior high.

In addition to half-time shows at football games, the West Jefferson marching band will perform in at least four contests this fall and at the Madison County Band Festival at Madison-Plains on Sept. 23.

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