Pride of Maine band marches into Falmouth Friday

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FALMOUTH — Football fans attending Falmouth High School’s first football game of the season will be treated to a special spectacle Friday night when the Yachtsmen take on Gorham.

The University of Maine marching band is scheduled to play during halftime, a tuneup for its first performance Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., during the Black Bears’ game against UMass Amherst.

This will be the first moving show of the year for the Pride of Maine Black Bear marching band, which is comprised of 88 students in 30 different majors. The band played its first standing show for incoming students in August.

The Friday-night show will also be the band’s first performance in Falmouth, although the university’s symphonic band has performed for Falmouth schools.

The band will play its “Fire and Ice” show, Director Chris White said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The performance will open with Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” followed by Michael Buble’s “Fever,” and a funk rendition of Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted.”

“It’s really a great show,” White said. “There will be lots for people to see and hear.”

The show, chock full of traditional loud brass and drums, will also include a dance team performance, complete with fire juggling, White said.

White said he contacted Falmouth High School Band Director Jim Horwich because the band needed a place to practice the day before the Saturday game. He said the timing of Falmouth’s game lined up well with the band’s road trip schedule, noting that the band has to perform a warm-up at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in Foxboro.

In addition to the timing, White said they chose Falmouth because of a long-standing relationship with Falmouth Middle School music teacher Jerry Barry, who teaches jazz at the Maine Summer Youth Music Camp.

Horwich said he hopes seeing the band will inspire high school music students to continue playing in college, even if they don’t major in music.

“We’re really excited because we haven’t done anything like this before,” Horwich said. “Out of the 100 kids in the band program (in Falmouth), only a few will go on to play music in band after high school. Marching bands are fun because the crowds are enormous and it’s a great way to be part of the college scene.”

The UMaine band typically plays about three road shows a year, White said, which makes the performance in Falmouth an unusual occurrence.

On Saturday, at the college game, the band will perform with the UMass band in a special joint tribute to the victims of April’s Boston Marathon bombings. The bands will follow Boston tradition and play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and eventually merge to form the words “Boston Strong,” White said.

Friday’s high school game starts at 7 p.m. at Falmouth High School.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.