HENRIETTA TWP. — Dustin Wiley, band director for Firelands High School, lost his voice at Friday night’s football game.
“My wife says if I lose my voice on Saturday, that means it was a good game the night before,” Wiley said, discussing how he and the marching band he directs at the Vermilion-Firelands game on Friday night cheered on their team for hours.
Even though Firelands lost by 7 points after a furious second half comeback, Wiley considers the band’s energetic involvement in the evening game a success. And that was just during the game.
Afterward, a traditional celebration — known only as postgame — involves Firelands fans gathering behind the bleachers after all home games to listen to the marching band play songs and drum cadences. Firelands fans and students circle around the band, dancing and singing to the music.
The postgame Friday was the first of the year.
Wiley said the tradition is almost seven years old and is fairly unique to Firelands football games. The Elyria High marching band has a similar traditional after game performance.
Each year, Wiley tries to add a new aspect to the event — the most recent being including the whole band in the celebration, rather than just the percussion section. This year the band and audience danced and sang along to “Party Rock” by LMFAO.
“It’s all about school spirit,” said Wiley, adding that the postgame celebration brings the community together regardless of the game’s outcome.
Firelands high school senior and band member Tom Schuman said for him, postgame is a good way to “finish off the night” by getting everyone — fans, athletes and community members — to join in a dance party.
“Band is more than music, it’s (about) friendship and leadership,” Schuman said.
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