GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Something unusual will happen when the Jenison and Rockford high school football teams break for halftime at their game Friday.
Not one, but two marching bands will take the field to perform. Both bands won state titles in 2019, which was the last time the competition was held before the COVID-19 pandemic put it on hold.
Typically, only the home school marching band performs at halftime of a football game.
Jenison football coach Rob Zeitman came up with the idea to invite Rockford’s state championship band to go on the road and kick off halftime with their own performance. His daughter, Hannah, is the drum major for the Jenison marching band.
“I thought it was a very cool idea, playing with the fact that both of us are defending state championship marching bands, and we’re excited to host them,” Jenison Band Director Dave Zamborsky said.
Jenison and Rockford compete in different divisions, which is how they were both able to earn those state titles.
“I think it’s a sign that the community, both the community here in Jenison and the community in Rockford, place a lot of value on marching band specifically, but the arts in general, and music. I think that feels really good,” Zamborsky said.
Hannah Zeitman sees this as a great opportunity to showcase hours and hours of hard work.
“Hopefully, (the crowd) sees that marching band is more than just a halftime show. We do so much more than that. It really means a lot these kids out here, and to me, especially,” she explained.
The bands will both use the performance as a dress rehearsal for the following day when they will compete in the Bands of America Regional Competition. It’s after a year when COVID-19 canceled all of their competitions.
“We had a lot of people quit last year. It was very hard on everyone to not have that and to not be able to see each other for a long time. So, having people still willing to march even better than we have in the past is really something special,” Hannah Zeitman said.
Tommy McGovern, Rockford’s drum major, feels the same way. He is a junior this year and sees this as a chance to show everyone what it means to be in the band.
“I know we’ve all put in so much effort into this and so much time. For a lot of people, band is such a big part of our lives and it’s just really fun to be able to put that out there and see what people think about it,” McGovern said.