MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? It’s a common question, but most supporters of the Martinsburg Bulldogs would say they aren’t tired the football team’s continuous success.
“It’s strange,” said Martinsburg High School Bulldog Band Director John Carper. “I don’t even know what would happen if the team lost. It’s part of the culture here.”
In John Carper’s two-year tenure as band director at Martinsburg, he has never seen the Bulldogs lose. Even more surprising, his senior band members graduating in the spring have never attended a game resulting in a loss. For the band, this means more travel than the average high school band in West Virginia and more reps of “Stand Up and Cheer”, Martinsburg’s fight song.
“We play the fight song a lot,” said Carper. “Sometimes maybe we wish we could play a little bit more music. There’s (always) a ton of people in the crowd. I think that speaks tremendously to whether or not the community is getting tired of seeing the team winning or if they find it encouraging.”
Like most high school marching bands across West Virginia and the U.S., the Bulldog Marching Band’s work goes far beyond what the majority of the public sees. Parade appearances, competitions and festival performances fill the schedules of the 73 performers in this year’s ensemble. All of this doesn’t include hours of practice during and after school and over the summer months.
Carper said his marching band’s season goes far longer than average, which can create conflicts.
“We stay extremely busy. I have friends in the rest of the state. Their marching band season ends when the regular season ends. Which makes it a bit of a challenge for us here at Martinsburg because we get that extra four weeks of football with the playoffs and the state game. It makes it a little bit challenging. We try to keep some pep band music and something to put on the field during halftime. Trying to balance that with preparing for a Christmas concert does make it difficult.”
The band also hosts the annual Martinsburg Band Spectacular every September. The event brings dozens of bands from multiple states to Cobourn Field.
No. 1 Martinsburg faces No. 2 Spring Valley, both undefeated, Saturday at noon for the AAA Championship game. MetroNews will have full coverage on the MetroNews channel, AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh and radio affiliates across the state.
The band will travel to Saturday’s game, aiming to bring the vibrant game day atmosphere Bulldog fans experience at home at Cobourn Field.
“It’s different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. I think that the way that the Martinsburg community supports the football team…it’s really quite encouraging to the kids to see so many people coming to the games.”