By Craig Marx, Editor
Keeping with the local roots and traditions of the community, the Antigo High School Marching Band has chosen “The True Heroes of Iwo Jima” as its showcase theme this year. The three-song spectacle will pay tribute to those who fought in the deadly Pacific Theatre battle, in particular those who were unable to return home with their comrades.
As a Marine Corps historical investigation recently revealed Antigo native John Bradley as not being one of the soldiers in Joe Rosenthal’s iconic yet staged photograph of an Iwo Jima flag raising, it is important to remember that Bradley was in fact involved in an earlier raising of the Stars and Stripes and more importantly served with distinction in the battle itself.
The show itself is based on the book “Flags of Our Fathers,” written by James Bradley, one of John’s sons, and features patriotic and heroic songs coupled with voiceovers taken directly from the book narrated by Dan Bradley, John’s grandson and son of Tom Bradley.
“I thought it would be great to have a show that had a tie-in to the local community,” band director Jeff Dewey said. “The show itself isn’t so much about just the flag raisers but the soldiers that didn’t make it home. It was something that really affected the guys that survived, as you can see in the book and the movie.”
The color guard is set to perform with the band as well. In all, the AHS marching band has 52 members this year including percussionists and color guard members.
Dewey is complimented by a qualified staff that are instrumental throughout this week’s camp and the upcoming season, including Melissa Wald, Kylie Kropp and Mara Wurtinger (all of whom are color guard instructors), along with Colin O’Day (drum line instructor), Matt Hornbuckle (assistant drum line instructor), Julie Schenk (front line instructor), Jeff Burdick (music and marching instructor), Sarah Doucette (assistant music and marching instructor), and Randy Webb (drill design).
“From camp to performances, everything comes together well,” Dewey said. “I have a good staff that works well with me. They really do a good job putting it all together.”
The marching band will have its first performance in front of a live audience on Friday night as they host a show at Listle Field for the band members’ parents. The parents have also aided in the culmination of a finished production, with some help to create the artwork and set pieces that will be used for the future shows.
The band’s first true performance begins on Sunday, August 21 after receiving an invitation to play at the Athens Parade (in the Wisconsin city of the same name). Local supporters can catch the AHS Marching Band at Schofield Stadium on Friday, August 26 for the Red Robins first home game of the season against Oconto. Game time is 7 p.m. with the band performance beginning at halftime.
Included here is a complete schedule of the AHS Marching Band’s performances this fall:
- Sunday, August 21 – Athens Parade – Athens, WI
- Friday, August 26 – Antigo Football vs. Oconto – Schofield Stadium
- Friday, September 2 – Crandon Brush Run Parade – Crandon, WI
- Friday, September 9 – Antigo Football vs. Ashland – Schofield Stadium
- Sunday, September 18 – Northstar Bandfest – Waukesha North High School
- Saturday, September 24 – Antigo Football vs. Merrill – Schofield Stadium
- Saturday, October 1 – Antigo Marching Showcase – Schofield Stadium
- Sunday, October 2 – Merrill Marching Invitational – Merrill High School
- Friday, October 7 – Homecoming Parade – 5th Ave, Antigo, WI
- Friday, October 7 – Antigo Football vs. Rhinelander – Schofield Stadium
- Saturday, October 8 – Baldwin-Woodville Competition – Baldwin- Woodville High School
- Sunday, October 9 – Rhythm by the River – UW-River Falls
- Saturday, October 15 – State Marching Band Championships – UW-Whitewater