CINCINNATI - Strike up the band.
It has been nearly 10 years since a marching band performed at a Western Hills football game, but 52 students from Western Hills University and Dater High School were ready to take the field for a halftime show Friday night.
Budget cuts caused the instrumental music program to go on hiatus more than a decade ago, but alumni got together to bring back the band.
"The alumni came forward to the administration of the school and were unhappy the tradition of the band had fallen by the wayside and offered to provide some funding for equipment and so on," said Kent Stine, co-director of the Western Hills Campus Band.
The first hurdle was the lack of musical experience.
"I was starting with some students who were ninth grade and 10th grade beginners, so there were a lot of challenges there,” Stine said.
Once he got a band together, they had to learn to play while marching.
Now they're ready to impress the crowd with some Jackson Five hits.
"Bringing back the Jackson Five music to a football game is really fun for me," said band member Jameil Haynes.
And for the team.
"It gives them motivation. It gives them a reason to play. It gives them a reason to win," said Braden Frondorf.
It gives Stine joy.
"I've seen students who couldn't play a note in their freshman year become outstanding musicians by their senior year," he said. "To be able to play and march all at the same time and in four years, that's something to be proud of."
Stine says he's already looking ahead.
By next fall he expects the band to have more than 70 members.