By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
If you were at the Friday, Aug. 25, game at Green Bay East High School, you may have noticed that many students in the stands were wielding instruments — at least until halftime, when a bout of tempestuous weather ended the game, and the music, early.
Aug. 25 marked the first pep band performance of the season for the Green Bay East Red Devil Band.
The band is led by Karen Iken, who has been involved with music in the Green Bay Area Public School District for many years, along with a senior student drum major and junior student assistant drum majors.
“I’ve been here since 2009,” she said. “And before that, I taught 20 years of Beginning Band and Orchestra in the middle schools in Green Bay.”
Iken said that game nights for the band all follow a fairly similar routine.
“We always meet in the band room before the game,” she said. “We do a warm-up, play through a song, come out here as a group, have fun and play lots of things.”
While having fun is a priority, Iken said she also aims for her students to produce a quality sound at each performance and work towards improving their performance throughout the year.
“My goal for them is always to sound good,” she said. “For the freshmen — because there are freshmen here who have only been playing for me, if they came to all five nights of marching camp, five times — my goal for them is to get one note for each song and build on it.”
The band’s work throughout the early parts of the football season build up to a big halftime performance at Green Bay East’s homecoming game, which Iken said is usually based on a different theme every year and this year is based on songs which reflect the musical preferences of the school and its students.
“Last year we did villains — so music from Psycho and Scar’s theme from Lion King, those kinds of things,” she said. “This year, our theme is ‘We Are East.’ We’re starting off with ‘This is Me’ and then doing some songs that the kids here at East might listen to — Pitbull’s ‘Fireball,’ Little Nas X’s ‘Industry Baby’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller…’ [The band] got to give me suggestions, and we’re also doing a Latino section, including Selena’s ‘Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.’”
You can catch the Red Devil Band performing its halftime show at City Stadium for Green Bay East’s homecoming game Friday, Sept. 22.