Natalie Miller is starting her senior year at Avon Lake High School this fall as the newly elected President of the high school band. Band students hold elections for officers each year prior to summer vacation with their terms effective on the first day of the next school year.
But for Natalie, her new responsibilities began almost immediately as she helped to coordinate the annual “Kick-Off” for the band on the last day of school last June. She helped organize the event and helped introduce all of the incoming freshmen to life in high school band.
“Freshmen are all expected to participate in marching band because it’s fun, it engages them in school and community service, and it helps them adjust to the demands of high school band musicianship.” Beyond that, it is an environment where freshmen get to work side by side with upperclassmen like Natalie. Students and parents see almost immediate positive changes in their children after only several days of summer rehearsals with the band. Why is that, you ask?
Take a look at what Natalie has been doing the past few years and you soon learn why band plays such a big role in preparing newly arriving students for high school. She has been recognized for her academic work in Chinese, Geometry, Precalculus, and has earned the Summa Award every year. Natalie maintains a nearly 5.0 weighted grade point average. She is a member of National Honor Society, Model UN, and Chinese Club. She has participated in Key Club and Academic Challenge. And that’s just what she does in school.
Outside of school, Natalie works at the Avon Lake Public Library, plays recreational softball, and is a member of the prestigious Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony. Natalie is the daughter of Thomas and Jennifer Miller.
According to Avon Lake High School Band Director David Eddleman, Natalie is not the only student in band who excels academically, but instead represents a familiar trend. “I always kid around saying that some of the brightest students in the building are members of the band, but actually it’s true. There’s a culture in band that respects academic achievement, diversity, and the feeling that we are family. I can’t imagine more fun or rewarding work than what I do each day with these students”, Eddleman says.
What’s next for Natalie? Well, the year ahead offers her more opportunities to develop her leadership skills presiding at meetings, serving on the Principal’s Leadership Council, and helping create awards and recognition for all of the other band members. Plus keep up those excellent grades and prepare for college. As Eddleman summed it up, “Natalie is a great role model for the band, showing others that they can combine their passion for music and the arts with high academic achievement.”
Whew! The school year ended with a whirlwind of activity for the band members with the Memorial Day Parade followed by the Kick-Off and Graduation. Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2017. We will miss you! And to everyone else, have a great summer break! Drum line and auxiliary will have rehearsals in June and early July, but all of the rest of us will begin on July 25th with our first day of sectionals. You can find schedule info here: BAND CALENDAR. Watch for music updates at the BAND WEBSITE under Marching Band: Music and Drill. As more of the "To The Moon" music is completed, it will be posted for you to download and practice. Check the website periodically for any news, especially regarding our SHOREMEN BRASS CLASSIC on August 5th. Be sure to sell your six tickets! Have a great summer break and we'll see you all soon!
One of the reasons that an 8th grade student should join marching band is, you make lots of friends from it. The section you join becomes your family, and you spend a lot of time with them at practices. Some instruments spend time together outside of practices too.
Another reason is that marching band will keep you involved...One other reason is band is fun. It is fun to learn the music and the (drill) sets and really connect to the music, and the other people in the band.
O, c/o 2018
Hello, my name is L and my marching band experience was very interesting...I played volleyball but also really wanted to be a part of the marching experience. (I was one of) the first people to be able to say I played volleyball and also could be in uniform (with the marching band). Mr. Eddleman was very understanding and did whatever he could to make sure I felt included. My favorite thing was marching on the field for pre-game. I made a new family and a lot of friends!
L, c/o 2020
Being in marching band is one of the most interesting experiences of my life. I didn't know how much doing marching band would end up changing my life and who I am today. The hard work you have to commit to in band really builds a person's character.
N - c/o 2019
Being involved in the Avon Lake Marching Band is one of the best experiences I've ever had. It offers me great experiences. It is a very worthwhile full commitment.
J, c/o 2020
From personal experience, marching band has been one of the best activities I have ever taken part in. It is something that no student would ever forget. Marching band is a way to make new friends while having fun. From the moment I walked into the high school band room at kick-off night, I knew that band was an activity that I wanted to be a part of.
A, c/o 2020
As a freshman in the marching band, my views on the marching band have changed a lot. In the 8th grade I was not looking forward to joining the band at all. I was convinced that I would hate it and want to drop out. I also thought it would be very easy and no work at all.
This all changed after my first week in band camp. To be honest, marching band takes a lot of work and focus. But once you get through the hot days of band camp and go to your first game, you will find that all the work was worth it. There is a huge sense of pride when you first march out on the field. I have no plans of ever leaving the marching band because I would be leaving a family that you can't find anywhere else.
A, c/o 2020
Marching Band is an activity that provides benefits to any 8th grader approaching high school. And the given benefits don't just include the enjoyment you'll get from it anyway. From the first sectional, whether you realize it or not, you will have begun to make countless friends, something that will prove to be valuable once you actually start high school.
Next to that, the environment is just a great place to be in. I played soccer and marching band and if I'm honest the people in marching band are much more enjoyable to be around in a different aspect. The creativity and playful atmosphere just flows and you will feel like part of the family in no time. And in high school, that family you made yourself will have your back, give you advice, and lighten up your days like no one else.
Then of course you will find so much pleasure in the marching itself. At first during drills it'll feel boring or frustrating, but when you step onto the turf for your first show there is this unexplainable feeling you get you won't want to let go of, so any 8th grader who hasn't considered marching band will be missing out.
S, c/o 2020
I have chosen to write this essay about one of the most influential people in my entire life that I was blessed with meeting before my freshman year of high school even began. He has taught me more about life than I think anyone else has that I have ever met. A great leader himself, my high school band director Mr. Eddleman has and still continues to help shape me into a true leader not just by example, but also through the many experiences I have had in his classes and ensembles.
My freshmen year I joined the ALHS Marching Band along with the Concert Band. Mr. Eddleman was the director of both ensembles and, to my amazement, he was able to turn over one hundred people into one functioning unit that performed on the field and at concerts. I still admire that leadership to this day. As a leader, he was able to remain compassionate, but also able to pull off great feats. I, by his example, morphed into this type of leader and applied these same skills to group projects, personal endeavors, and how I acted with my friends and in family situations. Throughout my time in his classes as I grew older, I became a mentor to other students and even successfully became a member of the highest level band. No matter what hardship I faced in the ensembles, Mr. Eddleman always pushed me to try my hardest and has helped me to achieve any goal I set.
Clara Huffman, Class of 2015
As you guys know or if you don't know, I am from South Korea. When I was forced to go back to Korea after the band camp (my visa was not approved), I sobbed every night, because I would miss my senior year. Then when I came back, you guys all greeted me with big smiles and hugs. And that moment I knew this is where I belong.
Being in Marching Band taught me to how to scream like a wild animal, wiggle my hips and just be myself. If you are close with me, thank you for accepting me as who I am and if you do not know me well, we should talk more, because every single one of you is awesome.
I want you to know that you have the opportunity that others can't get (like me, there is no marching band in SK and coming to America costs ALOT of money and effort). So please PLEASE spend the every single second wisely, make memories and enjoy. I love you all.