MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – Just like the football players warm-up before they hit the Friday night lights, the Menominee band students do the same for the art and sport of marching band.

“We have a group right now around 24 students that we’re hoping to grow overtime,” said William Ragnone, Band Director, Menominee High School. “It’s kind of part of our band class. During the first semester, we get together to perform at football games, parades and other similar events. Our goal is up until concert season starts and our goal with it is to kind of support the community of Menominee and get to play for the football team and play for the people who attend those games and also at the other events I mentioned representing Menominee, but also for ourselves and of the students here.”

To create something they are proud of.

“It’s a really big part of the school spirit because it’s how we like how we make everything come together,” said Naomi Raymond Gunderson, freshman, clarinet. “The cheerleaders wouldn’t do their dances if we didn’t play, the colorguard, they wouldn’t be able to have their songs to do their flag movements for without us playing.”

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s honestly fun,” said Brandi Kopsi, sophomore, bass drum. “I can’t say how much I would rather be out there than in here, honestly. Even though it’s like freezing, it’s just fun being out there working hard.”

“There’s a lot of dedication in band, but it’s definitely worth it to see the people and all the hype and all the memories,” said Denaejah Thompson, senior, clarinet. “It’s totally worth the work.”

That’s because when it’s time to hit the football field, these Maroons help give something for the fans to cheer about.

“It really represents just how important I think band is,” said Brock Murphy, senior, snare drum. “I played basketball last year, and I could notice the difference between when the band was there and when the band was not there. It just brings a different level of energy and spirit to the games and any parade that we’re in.”

“I think we bring just an entirely different level of school spirit to the stands,” said Melanie Rodriguez, freshman, clarinet. “When I think about us not in the stands, I think it would be kind of boring because there is nobody else to play Funkytown. I think it just really helps bring that extra kick of pep and it really helps out our football team too, because they know everyone’s there to support them.”

It wouldn’t be successful without each dedicated student, forming one big, happy, supportive and musically talented family.

“I guess mainly, I like the social experiences a lot,” said Logan Ayers, junior, quads.

“I like how it has given me somewhat of a social life I’ve never had,” said Kopsi. “It was really hard and then when I came here, I found out I had more than what I thought I had for friends. It gave me this sense of feeling safe, which being how I am, I don’t get often and this band has brought me so much joy.”

“I think we’ve got a really hard working group of students here,” said Ragnone. “It doesn’t work if people aren’t showing up to practice. It doesn’t work if people aren’t trying and working on the music at home and we definitely have a culture of that happening here, so it’s been working because of the work they’ve all been putting in.”

With a combination of students in all grade levels, it’s clear that marching band memories with stick with these students for years to come.

“I can’t wait for the sixth, seventh and eighth graders to come into our band,” said Ryan Marzian, freshman, sousaphone. “It’s going to be bigger and broader and the shows that we put on are going to be better. I mean as a freshman, I can’t wait for three more years of band.”

“This is my first year in band so give credit to Mr. Ragnone for recruiting me,” said Murphy. “It’s been a lot of fun and I definitely will remember this past high school.”

“I’m hoping that we can grow and participate in more events,” said Ragnone. “In marching band in particular, Menominee’s traditionally gone to the Appleton Christmas Parade which we’re bringing back this year. Last year, we started going to NMU Band Day for the first time. As more parades come back to the area and participate in those as well and do just as much as we can. Give these guys as many opportunities as we can to represent the community and get to perform.”