Members of the Putnam City High School marching band have been hitting the football field this month, learning this season’s show. On Friday, their parents got their own marching orders.
Jeff Downey, who is beginning his second year at the helm of the Pirate band, decided this year’s preview night would be a perfect opportunity to let parents not only see what their children were learning, but give them a chance to be on the field.
“I have never done this anywhere, ever,” he said.
Downey said he got the idea from a former student who now is a band instructor.
“He raved about it. He’s been doing it for at least the last six years. He always calls and says it was a great success and that I should try it,” Downey said.
So this year, he did.
After watching from the stands as their children demonstrated maneuvers on the field, from warming up to the first part of the new show, Downey invited the parents to the field to march with their children.
“We wanted to get parent involvement. The point was to give the parents some insight so they would have more compassion and understanding for what their child goes through to get to the final product,” Downey said.
The other emphasis, he said, was to show the parents how important it is for students to be at every practice.
“When someone is absent from a spot, it does have an impact,” Downey said.
The band director thinks the experiment was a success but is waiting to get feedback from his students.
“I want their honest feedback, so next year we can make it even more enjoyable,” he said.
Cathy Karjoo, who marched with her son Justin, 15, said she enjoyed the experience.
“I thought it was a great experience to see what our kids actually physically do instead of just watching them from the stands. It gave me a small idea of what they do, because I know it is really hard and they put a lot of effort into it. So it gave just a small taste,” Karjoo said.
Terry Groover is the parent of a Putnam City High School marching band student.