Wanner Stadium — and the air around it — was alive with the sound of music Wednesday night.
Students in freshly pressed uniforms marched in unison blowing trombones, clarinets and tubas. Around them, other teens waved brightly colored flags, creating a rhythmic and visually captivating performance.
This was the scene of Williamsburg-James City County’s Band Night, which gathered marching bands and color guards from across the district.
The Jamestown Marching Eagles, Lafayette Marching Rams and Warhill Marching Lions all performed their routines.
Jonathan Hargis, Lafayette High School’s band director, said the night was about recognizing the quality of the marching bands in the district.
“We were able tonight to bring together almost 300 kids,” Hargis said.
Steve Turner, the Jamestown High School band director, said the school’s routine was named “Joi de Vivre” which translates to joy of life. Students performed songs like “Joy to the World” by Fredric Handel and “Dancing Through Life” from the Broadway musical Wicked.
Lafayette High School performed works from Dvorak’s New World Symphony in their routine “This New World,” according to Hargis. Musicians marched in unison during their performance, as well as leaning over in a semi-dance while playing their instruments.
The largest marching band, Warhill High School, performed their routine “I’ll be Bach,” which was filled with music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Warhill was dedicated to its theme, with the three drum majors who conducted the band wearing baroque-styled suits and a dress with a hoop skirt.
All three high schools as well as the Berkeley, Hornsby, James Blair and Toano Middle School bands performed “America the Beautiful” as the night’s finale. According to Hargis, the six schools only practiced the routine for 15 minutes.
Despite the short practice time, the students worked together like a well-oiled machine. Rather than marching separately, the six bands marched as one, harmonizing both their music and steps.
“Band is a wonderful activity that really works on the aspect of collaboration, creative thinking and character,” Hargis said.
Want to see them perform?
All three high school bands will perform at the Virginia Marching Band Assessment from 3-3:45 p.m., Oct. 25, at Wanner Stadium.
You can also see the bands perform at their respective high school’s football games.
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.