BHS Marching Band staying busy at campPublished 12:02pm Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Becoming the “Pride of Decatur County” does not happen overnight, as the approximately 200 members of the Bainbridge High School Marching Band are discovering at summer band camp.
Camps for new band members, the dance line and color guard and the percussion section were all held the week of July 8, while the full band camp began this Monday and continues through July 25.
“Camp is a good time to get the basics of our performance programs laid out and learned before school starts in August,” said Decatur County Schools’ Director of Bands Paschal Ward.
Each morning’s camp begins at 8 a.m. sharp, with all band members practicing their marching steps on the outdoor practice field.
Ward is assisted not only by his assistant directors and student band leaders, but there’s also several collegiate musicians and choreographers who have been temporarily hired for band camp.
“The idea is to get everyone on the same page, both musically and in their marching,” Ward said.
At around 10 a.m., students break up into smaller groups and practice in rooms throughout the large band building at BHS. Just before the morning session ends at 11:30 a.m., Ward updates his students and has them run through one of their numbers while seated.
But the day’s hardly over, as band members return to BHS at around 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and stay until 10 p.m. They’ll get Fridays and weekends off, but it’s still a busy, demanding schedule for all involved.
A realistic factor is that all of the students are teenagers, many of whom recently went on family vacation and are trying to get the last bit of fun out of summer before classes resume. Band camp is not optional, which is something Ward stresses at every opportunity, because students with unexcused absences get behind quickly and slow down the whole band’s progress.
“The biggest challenge is getting them focused,” said Sophia Boose, who was recently hired as the assistant band director at Hutto Middle School. “If you can get their brains focused, it all starts coming together.”
For student band leaders like sophomore Grace McIntosh, the concept of constantly giving corrections and pointers to peers is awkward, but neccessary due to the fast pace of learning the program.
“People look at you differently when you give them directions, but I look at it as a challenge that I can use to build me up,” said McIntosh, who will share drum major duties with Devin Thompson this fall. “I hope that by the end of next week, each of the band members will feel like they’ve exceeded expectations for us as a group and also met their personal goals.”
The BHS Marching Band will hold its “Friends and Family Night” next Thursday, July 25, at 8 p.m. at the BHS campus. On that night, the band will introduce its 2013 football halftime show, which includes “Some Nights” by Fun, “Rock this Town” by Stray Cats and “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles.
Band directors in addition to Ward are BHS assistant director James Sewell and Boose, who was recently hired to instruct the fifth- and sixth-grade band.
Kim Burrell sponsors the dance line, and Nicki Shockley sponsors the color guard.
Dance line choreographers are Lauren Bragg and Taylor Butenschon.