Tigers march through the forest.

June 25, 2018

Tigers march through the forest.

By Warren Schuitema, Contributing Writer.

ROTHBURY — You won’t see their name anywhere on the lineup for Electric Forest Festival, but every year since 2013 you can hear the sounds of the Shelby Marching Tigers and Alumni coming from near Sherwood Forest.

This year, the band was made up of current students and former, with graduates coming from recent years and all the way back to the Class of 1988. One of those alumni was myself, a graduate of the Class of 2006.

In 2013, when SHS Band Director Curt Isakson posted on Facebook that the band was inviting alumni back to participate in its Electric Forest performance, I jumped at the chance to do this and got to see what this huge festival was all about. Electric Forest was bigger, better, and more, than I expected. After that first year of marching, I told Mr. Isakson that I would come back to do this for as long as I was invited.

This year we performed “Fancy,” a popular song by Iggy Azalea, and “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. Both songs were huge hits for the people who were lucky enough to be at the edge of Sherwood Forest, or near The Hangar Saturday evening, June 23. One of the best parts of getting to do this is watching the crowd that gathers during our performance.

After drawing in a small crowd, we stop to perform the two songs we’ve rehearsed, and it’s always fun to see people singing along to the music or just dancing and “getting down to it.”

We play a couple more times during our 25-minute window and continue to draw in curious ears. By the end of the march, we have a small gathering that follows along with us. This year, we seemed to generate the biggest crowd yet.

When we first march into the venue at the edge of the Sherwood Forest, it is another highlight of the performance. Band members can see the looks on some of the attendees’ faces as we enter, and they are just in awe of what is happening. They never expect to see a band in full marching uniforms with color guard. They run off to grab their friends, so they don’t miss it too, or pull their phones out to record our brief performance.

“They looked like a professional military band,” said Maxwell Nesler of Westland, Michigan, attending EF for the second time but bringing his daughter, Callie, to her first Electric Forest. “They looked really sharp.”

Having completed a sixth year of playing with the band, I can say that the band, along with the festival, is only getting better as the years go on. I’m excited to see what else can come out of Electric Forest Festival, the Music In Schools program, and the Shelby Marching Tigers.

This year’s 55-member band included 36 alumni, said Isakson. Approximately $60,000 has been contributed to the band by the festival through the Music in Schools Program, he said. Funds are used to buy new instruments and other equipment.

All alumni and 2018 graduates receive free wristbands to attend the festival.

The first weekend of the Electric Forest Festival, held at the Double JJ Resort, ran June 21-24. The second weekend is June 28 through July 1.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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