Azle, Texas – On September 1st, during the hometown football team’s home opener at Hornet Stadium, the Marching Green Pride dazzled the crowd with a lively and precision-driven performance.
The marching band, a cherished component of the game experience, received a warm reception from both fans and players alike. It’s a mutual admiration that sees Azle football players attending some of the band’s contests and, during homecoming games, choosing to watch the band perform from the stands instead of relaxing in the locker room.
Band director Aaron Martin emphasized the significance of the support the football team, and indeed all athletic teams, extends to the band program. “The support that the football team – and for that matter all of the athletic teams – gives the band program is a really big deal,” said Martin. “It starts with our athletic director, Becky Spurlock, and it filters down through our coaches to our student athletes. There is a mutual respect and support for the groups. Our band students support and respect the efforts of the athletes, and vice versa. As staff members, we work together to make sure that our students can participate in the arts, as well as athletic endeavors, and they do not have to choose between the two.”
With over 200 students participating in the marching band, it stands as one of the school’s most popular extracurricular activities, particularly for its Friday night performances.
Martin expressed, “Our students get excited about Friday night football games. They love seeing their friends on the field in victory, and they feel the sting of defeat with the team as well. These kids love to perform at halftime and love showing off their hard work in front of their home crowd.”
Beyond the football games, the band competes in various contests. Their first upcoming competition is slated for September 25 at the annual Denton Golden Triangle competition.
Sophomore Bennie Manes, a trombone player, eagerly anticipates the Denton competition. He relishes performing at football games due to the enthusiastic crowds and the opportunity to “yell a lot.”
Manes’s journey with the trombone began in his youth, starting with a straight trombone, colloquially referred to as a “peashooter.” He recalled, “I started out with a dinky old pea shooter – nothing like the trigger I have now. That was my trombone for a while, then I got this, a trigger trombone, or an F1. It’s the same thing. It’s called a trigger because it has a single trigger. The most common kind is the peashooter with no trigger at all, just straight slide.”
His father initially purchased the peashooter, which eventually led to the upgrade to an F1. Manes finds the trombone appealing due to its unique sounds, size, shape, and playing technique. “You move your arm more,” he explained. “You have some thumb involved if you do get a trigger, and some middle finger involved if you have a dual trigger base.”
While the trombone has gained fame for creating comical sound effects in the 20th century, Manes takes a more serious musical approach with the band. His trombone contributes to the overall ensemble’s harmonious sound, adding both depth and melody. He noted, “It has more of a brass sound than your euphoniums, trumpets, mellophones. I add some bass and some melody. Trombones are in that kind of range where they can be a melodic instrument and can also be a bass.”
In the tapestry of Azle’s musical and sports culture, the Marching Green Pride plays a crucial role, enriching the home game experience with their vibrant performances.