Most students leave school in June and spend the ensuing months as far away from the building as possible, whether at their desks working on summer assignments or on a vacation in the Bahamas. For those in marching band or show choir, kiss those two weeks at the beach at the end of August goodbye. In order to prepare for the performance seasons, the groups spend several weeks learning and practicing their shows at the end of summer.
“I’m excited to see where we can go. I think we have a really strong program this year. [The first] Friday night at the game was a really good performance,” senior Chris Pennington, one of the drum majors of the 2013 Marching Hawks, said.
In marching band, it’s a drum major’s job to conduct the band through out performances.
“We also are expected to be on top of things all the time, run rehearsals last minute and be incredibly flexible because every day brings something new!” senior Emily turner, the other drum major, added.
Challenges come with any position in marching band, whether as a rookie marcher or the captain of a section. Being the highest authority below the band director, drum majors are presented with a difficult task of running practices.
“First is keeping track of everybody. Emily and I have to make sure that everyone is at practice,” and, “The games. I have to be constantly watching the clock and who has the ball to make decisions as to when the band plays,” Pennington said.
Beginning high school can be scary enough, but starting an extracurricular activity before school even starts is a daunting task.
“I honestly expected to be on my own,” freshman Storm Rossi admitted. “So, basically my expectations were way off. People helped me find where I was supposed to go and even joked around with me. It was nice; it made me feel like I fit in,” Freshman Rossi is a member of the color guard.
While show choir and marching band are large commitments on their own, a handful of students are part of both organizations. Often the practices overlap, which can be difficult to organize so that each group gets enough attention.
“I coordinate in advance with my directors [Amy Birdsong and Jamie Barrack] and basically go wherever they tell me to go and when,” senior Brendan Geer said, “It just takes a lot of extra effort and I don’t recommend not being in the class.” As the year progresses, the practice schedule will become more demanding.
“It’s going to get more hectic over the next few weeks. We have more practices to get the dances and everything down,” and, “I’m most excited for the concerts, to show people what we’ve learned,” sophomore Shannon Smith, a member of Highlights girls’ choir said.
At the moment, much of what’s coming up for the show choir groups is under lock and key, because the season hasn’t progressed enough for official details to be released
Their annual trip is yet to be announced and in the (Highlights and Camrata, the mixed show choir) will begin to go to competitions.
“Once you get into the actual season, [we go to competitions] about once a week,” senior Austin Riley said.
Since the marching band season ends with the beginning of winter break in December, the band is about to enter the busiest part of their season in October where they attend competitions most weeks, similar to the show choir.
This year, marching band is taking a trip to Philadelphia to perform with other local high schools’ (Patrick Henry and Monacan) bands in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade. This event will be televised in and around Philadelphia. Prior to going to Philadelphia, the marching band will have also spent several days in New York City.
Marching band, show choir or any other time consuming activity automatically knock a couple of months out of your social life. The annual trip that goes on your calendar makes it worth it.