Hard work begins early for Hinsdale South marching band
Autumn Woods, 16, of Darien practices with the Hinsdale South High School marching band Aug. 1. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 8, 2012 1:56AM
School doesn’t start until Aug. 22, and for 130 Hinsdale South students, the return to the regular school day might feel like another vacation.
Members of the high school marching band began putting in 10-hour days on Aug. 1, in preparation for this year’s marching show. With no air conditioning in the band room, even the band’s breaks from the outdoor heat haven’t offered a lot of relief.
But Director Patrick Maag said he has heard no complaints.
“That’s when you see the character, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Maag said.
The band has its work cut out for it this year. Not only is the Latin-themed music a challenge, the band is scheduled to perform the entire show at the school’s first football game on Aug. 24.
“We have to get the whole show done,” said Jackie Anderson, one of three drum majors.
“The first song is a tough one,” said Gabs Dupont, a senior drum major from Burr Ridge.
This is Maag’s fourth season as the school’s marching band director. The group performs at Hinsdale South’s home football games and competes in several competitions each season.
The band has grown from 80 during Maag’s first year to 130 this season, placing the Marching Hornets in competition with the biggest bands in the state.
Compared to some of the state’s most successful bands, Hinsdale South’s time commitment is minimal, Maag said. But that’s not because of a lack of dedication. His students juggle marching band with athletics, cheerleading and other extracurricular activities.
“I have 25 cross country runners,” Maag said. “Last year, the homecoming king was a marching band student.”
He marched the halftime show in his crown.
“We have the ability, we have the talent,” Maag said. “We go to the competitions knowing we did our best.”
Freshman Sylwia Giza of Darien said it’s been fun getting to know her fellow band members in the weeks before school starts.
“You put a lot in, but you get a lot out,” she said.
“The camaraderie is awesome,” DuPont said.
She said it all pays off when she receives a compliment from someone who foregoes the concession stand at halftime to watch the results of the band’s hard work.
“That’s the best,” Dupont said.