If you want to learn what it’s like to play in the Phillipsburg High School band, march a mile in their shoes.
Or at least pick up a drumstick or a tuba.
The football team and the cheerleaders got the opportunity to see what it’s like to join the band Friday during the Mixer at Maloney, as band members also got a taste of what their classmates do during Stateliner football season.
The fun activity let the band members, football players and cheerleaders each see what it’s like to carry out the duties of members of the other two groups.
The idea was to take the already strong connections binding each of these three groups and strengthen them further, according to Phillipsburg High School band director Kyle Fleming.
“This is a great time to bond together,” he told the three groups of students at 1 p.m. Friday. “We’ve never tried something like this before. I don’t think a lot of schools in this state or other states close by have every done something like this.”
Each group has spent weeks gearing up for the season but the first football game against Warren Hills isn’t until next week. So Fleming concocted the mixer as a way to reward the students for their hard work and bring them together. He said he has a great relationship with football coach Frank Duffy and cheerleading director Michelle Swick. He credited Phillipsburg seniors for thinking up and pushing for the activity.
The groups met at the stadium where the football players brought out tacking dummies, sleds and kicking equipment for non-football players to try out. They also taught some plays.
In another section of the field, the cheerleaders taught some of their stunt routines.
The drum majors showed the football players and cheerleaders how to march in formation. The non-band members were able to try out the tubas and mallet instruments. They were also invited to try tossing and spinning rifles and flags with the color guard.
“Be smart,” he told the students. “Don’t get injured. But also go out of your comfort zone.”
Fleming would love to bring the mixer back next year.
“Phillipsburg has so many special traditions that occur on an annual basis. This could be something unique and special to add to that,” he said.
Meet the 2019 Phillipsburg High School Stateliner Marching Band (PHOTOS)
The student musicians are preparing for home games on the new Bellis Field at Maloney Stadium and other performances.
Who knows? Maybe other high schools will follow Phillipsburg’s lead.
“I could see it catching on at other schools in the Valley,” Fleming said.
Rudy Miller may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.