As yet another memorable Shelton Gaels football season has come to an end, many new fans have found themselves gravitating toward the school’s band, which gained popularity for the energy it brought to the games this past season.
Members of the Marching Gaels described themselves as a tight-knit, dysfunctional family composed of a variety of personalities.
“We’ve grown to love each other,” said senior composer Lucretia Martin.
Most band members have been playing instruments for most of their lives and now say the relationships they’ve built through the school band are priceless.
“Imagine when you’re a freshman and you don’t know anyone — it’s comforting to have 20 or 30 other people always saying hi to you who also have a similar interest,” said Martin.
The band is made up of a mixture of students, from eighth graders to students in their senior year at Shelton High School, but the age difference isn’t a factor.
Marching Gael Hanna Farag said she’s grown to appreciate her band family and looks forward to bonding with them in their upcoming winter stretch. Farag said that during the football season the Marching Gaels are actually in a much more calm portion of students’ schedules.
“Returning people know all of the music for football games, as it doesn’t change each year. Newcomers have to practice more early in the year, but toward the end everyone has it down pat,” said Farag. “During the winter we have longer practices where everyone bonds more; it really gets more intense. On Saturdays some practices can be up to 12 hours long.”
Farag said the long days of practice serve a purpose.
“We want to be as good as the high school bands from the early 2000s,” said Farag after looking at the arsenal of trophies the Marching Gaels have won over the years, which remain on display in the band room.
Along with the countless hours the band members put into their craft, they said the support they receive from fans really helps to push them to be better and continue to improve. The Marching Gaels fans don’t just stand in the bleachers, they’re on the field as well.
Multiple band members said some of their biggest supporters are on the Gaels football team and the entire team has always shown a tremendous amount of respect to them even in tough times. One Marching Gael member said they really appreciate how their supportive relationship with the football team has also challenged the stereotype of how bandmates interact with athletes.
Senior Marching Gael Dan Kim said he gets amped up to hear that football players want to know whether the band will be performing at their game.
“They want the band to play, to get pumped with them and feed off of their performance as well,” said Kim.
Martin said she believes the Marching Gaels are a symbol of Shelton.
“We’re a perfect fit for Shelton. We’re one huge community and one huge family,” said Martin.
Every time the Marching Gaels take the field, whether for a band competition or to support the football team, they said, they’re bringing nothing but positivity and fun spirits with them, even when it’s freezing.