It’s not just football players on gridiron at Hinsdale Central
Matt Stockmal of Hinsdale plays drums with Hinsdale Central High School's marching band. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:04AM
The Hinsdale Central Red Devils start their football season at home Aug. 24. And it’s not just the football players who have hit the field in preparation.
Practice got into full swing the week of Aug. 13-17 as all 217 members of the high school marching band prepared for the first of this season’s five halftime performances.
“We try to do a new show every weekend,” complete with music and drills, said director Matt Kurinsky.
While some high school marching bands focus on competition with other bands, the Central band’s main purpose is halftime entertainment.
Kurinsky said enrollment in band grew when the focus was shifted back to the football field.
“These are kids that are in honors classes, are in sports and are in band,” he said.
Not having to worry about weekend competitions allows more busy students to stay in band.
Senior Alex D’Amico of Hinsdale is one of four drum majors leading this year’s Red Devils Marching Band. As a member of the band’s leadership team, D’Amico helps to run rehearsals as well as performances.
“You have to think of the band as a whole and do what is best for them,” she said of her role as drum major.
D’Amico said she remembers looking up to the students on the podium when she was an underclassman.
“They were role models for me,” she said.
The first week of rehearsals will be spent learning the pre-game show and the season’s first halftime show, which will consist of a collection of popular tunes.
Eighties music is on the schedule for the season’s second game, and senior night will be jazz night.
For the Sept. 29 Homecoming game against crosstown rival Hinsdale South, the band has planned a “Pirates of the Caribbean” show.
It’s a switch from the classical music that the Central musicians perform throughout the rest of the school year, but it offers a welcome change, D’Amico said.
Preparing a new show for every game requires more practice time than the school day allows. Evening rehearsals are a must.
D’Amico said all those hours are worth it when they hear the cheers from the stands.
“They like us,” she said.
Kurinsky said being part of the band is about much more than making music on Friday nights.
“We’re an important part of the school and the surrounding community,” Kurinsky said of the band, which performs in the local Fourth of July parade and at Boo at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for leadership within the organization,” he said.
Not only does a leadership position look good on a college application, it teaches lifelong skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. But they can be taught on a marching field.