Faces of Friday Night 09/18
The band director
David Bunten lives for halftime.
He has survived a heart attack and a stroke, and now gets steroid shots to mitigate pain in his knees.
But he’s back for a 33d year leading Reading High’s band.
“It’s our job to pump them up as much as possible, and we feed off that energy, too,” said Bunten, who creates the sets and themes for the halftime show.
It was the band program, not Bunten, that was ailing when he took over in 1981.
The band was without uniforms, an organized halftime routine for football games, and, most important, funds.
“We were using 30-year-old equipment being held together with bubble gum, Band-Aids, and elastics,” he said.
There were fewer than 20 students in the program.
“Basically, we were the laughingstock of the Middlesex League,” he said.
This year, the marching band boasts a roster of 75 at Rockets home games.
Bunten, who spent five years as assistant director of bands at Boston College, built a program that won a 150-band event in 1991 and is a fixture at Reading games. He said the preseason work is “similar to double sessions in football.”
“We built it into one of the better bands in the Middlesex League,” said Bunten.
Bunten considered retirement, but decided to keep marching.
“I’m going to stay in as long as I physically can,” he said.
Full Story from the Boston Globe