Okay, okay band, let’s get in formation!


Mia Donnamario

Marching band getting ready to perform.

Mia Donnamario, Staff Reporter

What comes to mind when you think of football games? Most people would say things like Friday nights, winning, cheerleaders, and halftime. Halftime may not be something that interests many people, but it is the entertainment of a football game. Here at RBHS, halftime is a pretty big deal. Now that the football team has won and is going to the playoffs you will be able to see them perform one more time. 

James Baum is the band director with help from Seniors Sophia Bolton and Esmeralda Macias. This year’s halftime performance was influenced by espionage.

“This sounds crazy, but this year all I did was open the list of all the pieces in the band library and saw Secret Agent Man right at the top of the list, and immediately I thought that it might be cool to do a show with the music of various famous spies,” said Baum referring to what inspired him this year.

The marching band is more than just playing an instrument. It is timing, coordination, and teamwork. Practices can be very time consuming for the band members, the drum majors, and Baum.

“To get the routine down fully it takes the band about 40 hours of practice over four days at band camp and usually about 3 practices,” said Baum, “From there we still need to continue to practice the show to clean up little odds and ends.”

Ideas for halftime can definitely be tricky. A great deal of time and patience is put into it. From discussing the ideas to creating the formations, it’s something that takes weeks to do.

“Most of the time when we are getting ready to pick the music I ask my students for ideas for themes of the show or specific tunes to include. Once the songs are chosen I write the actual drill, but it’s always neat to see the drill performed in real life. I usually try to let the music dictate the formations, but sometimes I also have to work within the parameters if what would be appropriate for our specific set of musicians or circumstances for the next year,” said Baum.

Marching band member Mia Ruffolo, who plays flute, is a Freshman and that meaning her first year in band.

“The hardest thing about halftime is learning the routines. We have to move around a lot and we make different shapes…for example we make a paw print and a star,” said Ruffolo.

Another marching band member Taja Martens, who plays the saxophone, is also a Freshman meaning it is her first year.

“The hardest thing about learning halftime is trying to learn it with the whole band, which is how we learn it. It’s just kind of a mess trying to learn it with a bunch of other clueless people,” said Martens.

Over the nine years that Baum has taught here as a music teacher he will always be proud of his first halftime show.

“I’m always proud of certain aspects of every show, and every time I sit down to write the show I feel like I’m better at tuning into the specific needs of the current students. However, the first show I ever wrote will always stick in my mind as one of my favorites, not really because of the show, but more because it was my first time out there as a music teacher,” said Baum.