Playing Four Quarters and Halftime Too


The band plays halftime at the Orange game. Photo by Matthew Keyerleber

It was the last game of the season. Tensions and spirits were high at halftime. The Bison were trailing the Orange Lions 0-14.

Both bands played exhilarating, thunderous shows. Beachwood’s band played with fire, sweat pouring with every beat.  

But three band members stood out: sophomore Ralph Herkley, freshman Ben Pham and freshman Hameed Thornton, who participated in both football and band this season. They were the ones who marched wearing the padded pants and cleats from their football uniforms.

Fans may wonder how they balance these two demanding activities.

“For me, balancing the two is actually not that hard,” Pham said. “Luddington does a great job of making band practices easier for football players when it comes to halftime shows.”

Sophomore Ralph Herkley agrees.

It wasn’t difficult balancing the two because I did it last year, and the experience helped me,” he said.

The Beachwood band also plays off the field. Every Friday during football season the band and drill team flood the hall after 11th period, playing loud and proud, heightening spirits as students leave the building.

Pham talked about his experience with band.

“Being a part of band is actually pretty fun,” he said. “I hope to participate all four years of high school.”

“… [It] is fun and great to be part of,” Herkley said.

Nonetheless, balancing the two activities is hard work.

Football practice is every week day from 3:00 to 7:30 p.m. Band practices are on Tuesdays starting around 6:00 p.m.

Therefore it is impossible to attend the entire band practice and football practice on Tuesdays.

“I miss some time with the band on Tuesday,” Pham said.

For me, balancing the two is actually not that hard,” Pham said. “Band teacher David Luddington does a great job  making band practices easier for football players when it comes to halftime shows.

— Freshman Ben Pham

Band director David Luddington explained the accommodations he has made for his football players.

“I try to make sure that we cover all aspects of the show during class time so that if they have to miss our Tuesday evening rehearsal they aren’t missing any new material that they need to know for Friday night’s show.”

Luddington went on to mention the flexibility of the band.

We’re intentional in our show and choreography, writing and designing shows that try to accommodate our busy students,” he said. “We’re mindful of the fact that students are involved in a wide variety of afterschool activities, so everything we do is designed to maximize the rehearsal we have both inside and outside class.”

Luddington also coordinates with football head coach Damion Creel to help these players.

“We talk regularly throughout the season and have a great working relationship,” he said. “We are lucky to have a coach who appreciates and supports the band the way Creel does, and I think this is part of the reason that athletes are able to be successful with both of our organizations.”

“On my end, I try to return that support for our team and make sure the band is doing our part not only at halftime but in the stands as well to keep the energy up at our games,” he added.

Even with accommodations, Luddington acknowledges that it can be a struggle for players to balance both band and football.

I appreciate the effort it takes to perform a halftime show after playing hard through two quarters of football.

— Band Director David Luddington

“I appreciate the sacrifices that all of our athletes make to be successful in both activities,” Luddington said  “For the football players, their sacrifice comes not only in sharing practice time but also splitting time during games on Friday.”

“I appreciate the effort it takes to perform a halftime show after playing hard through two quarters of football,” he added “I do think our shared students do a nice job with this.”

Luddington is also mindful of the time commitment required to do both activities.

“I do my best to put myself in the shoes of our shared students,” he said “I try to be mindful of my expectations for them from a time commitment perspective and try to maximize the contact time that we do get.  I know that they are making a sacrifice to do both, but I do my best to make sure they are having fun, not feeling overwhelmed and balancing everything appropriately.”

Luddington is very proud of this year’s band.

“This has been a tremendously fun and rewarding group to work with.  We have a lot of marchers in their first and second years in the band, and seeing them learn and grow from week to week is very exciting,” he said. “The progress from the beginning of this season has been substantial.”

This Bison football team also had a strong season, finishing with a 6-4 record.