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And the band played on

POULSBO — Picture a Friday night high school football game at North Kitsap High School: the smells of popcorn and hot dogs waft through the stands from the boosters’ booth; the sounds of the cheerleaders’ shouts bring the crowd to a roar; and the air is tense with anticipation for a gridiron battle.

Something missing?

Perhaps it’s the sounds of rumbling drum beats, saxophone solos, crashing symbols and thundering trombones the North Kitsap band performs each week that provides the final touch to the atmosphere.

“When the band’s not there, there’s not as much energy,” said NKHS junior and tuba player Alex McClanahan. “When we’re there, everybody’s cheerful, moving around and happy.”

But not to worry — the band will be raring to go when North opens play at home versus Wilson Sept. 9.

The community, however, can take advantage of a sneak peak, as the band will be parading through Poulsbo today, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

It will begin at Albertsons in Poulsbo Village and take them up Iverson into downtown Poulsbo. After a tour of Poulsbo Place, the band will hold its finale downtown on Front Street. When all’s said and done, more than two hours of music will have been performed.

The goal of the fund-raiser will be a trip to Las Vegas, Nev. for the band in May, to participate in the prestigious Heritage Festival.

Another purpose of the parade, admitted NKHS junior and flute player Rebekah Rovik, is “showing the community that we’re here and that the North Kitsap band rocks.”

By the time the community sees the band in its first official performance at the Vikings/Rams match-up, hours of practice and hard work have created a polished repertoire of songs to choose from. And according to band director David Dunbar, this year’s class is among the best ever.

“The first two weeks have been phenomenal,” Dunbar said. “The students just keep getting better and better each year. It’s going to be fun to see how far they can get.”

An aspect of the band that its members said has made preparation for the school year easier is the camaraderie of the participants.

“We’re really close,” said Allison Forbes, a senior clarinet player who also is a section leader for one of the band’s six sections. “Everybody’s getting to know each other very well. And if (new sophomore members) are shy, they’re not shy for long.”

Judging by the band’s morale, they’ll be enjoying the football game performances just as much as the spectators do.

“It’s just a rush,” said senior trombone player Steven Gilman of game nights. “It’s getting to play with your friends, shouting your lungs out at the game. Win or lose, it’s always fun.”

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