Is that #27 on the football field and . . .in the marching band?


Alexis Fowler

Football player Ethan Blache plays the marimba during the band’s half-time performance.

by Braden Weinel, Managing editor

Look out onto the field during the marching band performance, and it’s a sea of matching black and red with tall plumed hats. Except the marimba player in the front row of the percussion ensemble. He is wearing football pads and a number 27 jersey. Being both musically talented and athletically gifted, Ethan Blache’s most technical performance is the move from playing football to playing marimba. 

Blache is the front ensemble section leader in the marching band as well as a wide receiver on the varsity football team. Blache, a senior, has balanced both of these extracurriculars for four years. 

Blache starts his school day in the band room where his band mates and he rehearse for about 80 minutes. After that, Blache walks the halls as just another high school student for three more classes. When the final bell rings at 2:15 p.m, he is off to the locker room to put on his shoulder pads and helmet and then down to the football field for a two-hour practice. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Blache has additional marching band practice after football. 

On Friday nights, the wide receiver runs out onto the football field with his teammates and plays ball until half-time when he trades in his helmet for two mallets. Blache plays the marimba and suspended cymbal for this year’s “One Giant Leap” marching band show.

Alexis Fowler
Ethan Blache plays his marimba part in the annual Homecoming pep rally.

While Friday nights are more dedicated to football, Saturdays are more dedicated to band. Blache starts off his day with an early football practice and then spends most of his afternoon rehearsing with his band mates and playing in a marching band competition. 

“I’m capable of giving 100 percent to both, even though it takes a lot of energy,” said Blache. 

Blache is not the first to participate in both football and marching band. 2006 graduate Adam Anderson was the starting tight end for the football team and played snare drum in the band. 

Blache started drumming when he was nine years old. The musical talent runs strong in the Blache family. Ethan’s father Herb Blache, was a member of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the North Star Drum and Bugle Corps. Growing up, Blache was able to see his dad perform in not only the USMC drum and bugle corps but in his church worship team as well. 

“The ability to perform has always come natural to him, he takes his playing very seriously and practices very hard to perfect his playing ability,” said Blache’s father.

Influenced by his father at a young age, Blache continued with band throughout middle school and high school. 

Band Director Kevin Lloyd gives Blache a lot of credit. “He plays a critical role in the marching band. His Marimba parts are the centerpiece of the front ensemble music and other players key off his part.”

Blache’s football coach Rick Conner sees the same importance on the football field. 

“He leads by example and does his job… he’s playing the best football he has ever played right now, and he’s a valuable member of our team,” said Conner. 

Alexis Fowler
Ethan Blache prepares to play special teams in Friday night’s football game

Although Blache has been playing percussion for eight years, he started playing football just before freshman year. Blache followed in his father’s footsteps on the musical side but followed in his friends’ footsteps on the athletic side. 

“A lot of my friends were playing football, and I wanted to try something new,” said Blache. 

Blache receives praise from Lloyd and Conner, but especially from someone who knows him a little better, his sister Erin. 

Blache’s sister, a 2019 graduate and former clarinet player, participated in the marching band for four years as well. She speaks of him very highly as a musician, but more so as a leader.

“I think that his commitment to band and football in general is a very difficult thing, but he is a section leader so he has to lead the underclassmen and set an example for them. That to me makes it even more difficult,” said Blache’s sister. 

Blache is also an active member of Frederick County Young Life and an honor student.

After high school Blache is trying to figure out how to keep football and music in his college life. He will attend Frederick Community College.