By Carolyn Marnon – The Wayne Memorial High School Zebra Marching Band was awarded first place in Class A at the Gibraltar Invitational in late September with the top score for all 8 competing bands. The band also received recognition for Outstanding Musical Performance.
Competitions are open to any high school marching band that would like to participate. Bands sign up to attend. The groups are classified by the size of the school. Wayne Memorial is a larger school, so they are in Class A.
At each competition, there are four main judges for music and marching/visual, whose combined scores equal a total score. That total score is what determines placement at the competitions. The Zebra Marching Band’s total score was a narrow .2 ahead of Wyandotte Roosevelt’s marching band at the Gibraltar Invitational.
The band has a competition and halftime show titled “Inside the Web.” According to Matt Diroff, the band director, “it is based on the beginning of Spider-Man – the bite that turns him into the character, the struggle he faces with becoming Spider-Man, and his role in the city as a crime fighter.” The music is arranged in four parts by Frank Sullivan and Andy Broekhuizen and includes “Poison” by Alice Cooper, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” from Michael Giacchino and “Wallflower” by Peter Gabriel.
When competing, the band is required to march and play for a majority of the time. They are given credit for the physical demands of being able to play well while moving about the field, sometimes at very quick speeds. Judges look at two things: Performance (the quality of each aspect of music and marching performance) and Effect (the overall effectiveness of the music and visual program). Matt notes that “the Effect categories look more at the ‘total package’ that each group presents and how well everything works together. The judges base their points given on those elements of Performance and Effect. There are also separate categories for Color Guard (sometimes recognized as Flag Corps) and Percussion (which includes the drumline). Those categories are given separate awards, but their scores do not count toward the overall band score.”
Since winning in Gibraltar, the Zebra Marching Band (ZMB) has performed at the Downriver Fanfare, placing third out of 15 bands and scoring second in Overall Music Performance. They have also performed at DeWitt High School, Brandon High School and Plymouth-Canton High School. They recently gave a special community performance, “Friday Night Lights,” at Wayne Memorial HS.
“Every year with the group is special,” says Matt, “and this year’s group is already accomplishing great things and having fun performing this show. The only competition we talk about is with ourselves and getting better with every repetition of the material the kids are learning. We’re excited as we approach the remainder of the season because we’re finishing learning the last choreography and music and are adding spider web props to the field that will help create a better effect for the show. We’re thankful for the school district and community support we’ve received in putting this season together.” The band program continues to accept donations for their ‘Friends of the Zebra Marching Band’ program to help support meals for the ZMB students for camp and competition days. Please contact Mr. Diroff at (734) 419-2681 if you’re interested in becoming a ‘Friend of the ZMB’.