Education, Local News

Strike Up the Band at Willow School

Willow School students lined the halls Thursday in anticipation of a special event – a marching band was coming to school!

It was more than the marching band from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, because 21 Willow Band members joined in as they paraded through the halls.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Band Director Sarah Whitlock leads the band through the halls of Willow School on Oct. 19.
(Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

Music teacher Amelia Riedel had a joint band presentation in 2022, so she asked the H-F Vikings Band to come for a repeat performance.

“Students were very excited to have the band again. Many have been asking since we started school in August when our first marching band would be,” Riedel said.

 The H-F band has about 200 members. For this performance, about two dozen musicians represented the brass, woodwinds, and percussion sections of the band.

The H-F students, decked out in their red warm up jackets, lined up in rows in the Willow gym. The kindergarteners, first graders and second graders in the Willow Band, with their hand drums and egg shakers in hand, sandwiched themselves between the H-F students.

To be part of the Willow Band, students must collect Willow Wows. Students earn a Wow every time a teacher recognizes them for positive behavior – such as helping a friend or standing quietly in line. Principal Melissa Lawson said it is part of the reinforcement for the kindness school culture with staff using positive behavioral intervention support.

A cart goes around to classrooms every two weeks and students can spend their Wows on trinkets that cost 10 Wows, 20 Wows, 30 Wows. To be in the band, students hold on to their Wows so they can meet the 40 Wows fee.

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