Glen Lake Community Schools hasn’t had a marching band for years. Forest Area Community Schools this year doesn’t have a football team. So the two schools on Sept. 27 created a joint venture. The Forest Area marching band performed at the Glen Lake football game.

The arrangement shows that good sportsmanship can be displayed anywhere at any time.

The performance allowed Glen Lake players and fans to hear a marching band perform the Lakers fight song. It allowed Forest Area musicians to perform to an appreciative crowd.

“In a world of bad news, it’s a good news story, and it’s kind of bigger than people,” said Forest Area music teacher Brandon Dieke.

A Glen Lake school board member suggested the idea after hearing that Forest Area had canceled its football season for lack of players. Glen Lake Athletic Director Mark Mattson proposed the partnership to Forest Lake. It all came together in just three days.

Glen Lake returned the favor by loading its football team and cheerleaders onto buses and taking part in Forest Area’s homecoming pep assembly.

The arrangement was a win-win for students at both schools. Good sportsmanship bridged the 45-mile distance between the two school districts.

Things worked out so well that a repeat performance had been planned, but had to be canceled, for Friday, Oct. 25, at Glen Lake Community School in Maple City.

The story of inter-school cooperation struck a chord far beyond the boundaries of northwest Lower Michigan, drawing mention on National Public Radio and other media outlets. Mattson and Dieke both said they’ve spoken with a producer from Ellen DeGeneres’ television show, which could broadcast the story even further.

Real effects already are flowing from the Forest Area band’s appearance on the Glen Lake gridiron. The exhibition rekindled interest in a marching band at Glen Lake. Mattson said 38 fifth- and sixth-graders since have agreed to take part in rebuilding a marching band program at Glen Lake.

One Glen Lake high school musician and 11 middle-schoolers will perform at Friday’s game. 

The two schools' combined efforts helped build school spirit in both districts.

Editor's Note: This editorial has been updated. Forest Area musicians will not appear at the Oct. 25 football game.

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