West Marching Band is Rockin’ the Field with the Music of Billy Joel

This year’s GW Marching Band show will feature the Music of Billy Joel including four of his songs.


Association of Music Parents (AMP)

The Glenbard West Marching Band gets together for a group bonding activity on their first day at camp.

The Marching Band season kicked off in June with a count of 128 students participating for the fall of this year.

This is the largest the marching band has been for the past ten years since its creation and has, as a result, pushed them into the triple A level for competitions (levels are based on band size where triple A is the largest, double A second largest, and A smallest).

This year the band is proud to present the Music of Billy Joel featuring four of the acclaimed pianist’s songs: “Piano Man,” “Stranger,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” and “Pressure.”

The show will also feature one of their very own members, Andrew Scheller (senior), as the pianist who will perform the main melodies for each tune on field.

Andrew Scheller has fun posing with the Pit members. (Scheller pictured as person being held by members)
Ori Harris
Andrew Scheller has fun posing with the Pit members. (Scheller pictured as person being held by members)

The talented musician was able to comment about this privilege saying that “I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to have such a featured role with the marching band while playing the music of one of my favorite artists.”

He also explains how he considers his role like a hybrid of being a pit and drumline player. Because he is the pianist, the role has given him a fun experience where he can be on field like his drumline friends, but still be playing a pit instrument.

Since the band is participating on the triple A level, there will be — for the first time — props to assist them in creating a Billy Joel-themed performance!

So far the props have been determined to be a constructed grand piano and booths at which the mellophone section will be sitting at enjoying a “meal” while listening to the “piano man.” Besides those, the rest of the props have yet to be revealed.

From August 3rd to 7th, the marching band attended their annual band camp at the University of Whitewater in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

At camp students learn the moves they are to perform for each tune. The camp consists of three rehearsals a day with a fun activity in the evening. Practices last three and half hours for the morning and afternoon rehearsal and then a two and a half hour rehearsal in the evening.

The Mello section gather for a goofy section picture.
Ori Harris
The Mello section gather for a goofy section picture.

The camp is lead by Mr. Walsh, band director at West, and Mr. Ortega, West’s orchestra and pit director. With the assistance of many volunteer parents, the camp is truly a success.

On field during practices, designated section leaders and this year’s three drum majors, Ori Harris (senior), Erin Hernandez (senior), and Emma Hanson (junior), help marchers find their spots on field (section leaders still march their own spots as well) and when everything is put together, the drum majors conduct the band while they play and march.

The days are long, and exhausting, but if anyone asks a marching band member how they feel by the end of the day, they would all say it was well worth it and still loads of fun!

As Erin Hernandez says, “I think because our band isn’t mandatory to do, we all want to be there. We have such an awesome atmosphere of family and love that everyone focuses on that and not on the hard work.”

The choreography was written by Don Pesceone, one of Glenbard West’s staff members.

While the change from double A to triple A is fairly significant, according to Mr. Pesceone the choreography was hardly affected.

“I like to compare it with painting a house.  We have the primer on right now, but we will need another two coats of paint to finish the job.” He explains referring to the progress at which the marching band has gone so far.

The Marching Band continue to practice even with the looming rainy weather ahead of them.
Association of Music Parents (AMP)
The Marching Band continue to practice even with the looming rainy weather ahead of them.

Although the band has barely begun to piece the show together, they have made great progress through their hard work at camp.

This is apparent as Mr. Pesceone continues by saying, “That being said, I do like the direction that the design team is going. All of this should be entertaining for the band to perform, and the audiences to watch.  It’s going to be a fun year!”

Erin Hernandez also adds her own opinion on the band’s progress stating, “It was insane how well our band worked even with a rainstorm that knocked out an hour and a half of rehearsal. We learned the show and it sounds the best that I have ever heard at band camp.”

The music was arranged specifically for the Glenbard West marching band as well, meaning that the music will be performed for the first time ever by the band when they present their show on field at their first football game of the season.

Being a member of the marching band, I can say that this is one of our most interesting shows yet! Even though we are at the beginning of bringing the show together with the moves, props, and music, we would all say that we cannot wait to perform the show this season and we really hope viewers will enjoy reminiscing the Music of Billy Joel with us!