Although much of their preliminary work involves chanting “left” while marching in time with a drumbeat, members of Scotland High School’s marching band will use both of their feet and a healthy dose of effort in the week leading up to their first public performance of the season.
“We’ve been starting with a lot of the fundamental abilities that you need: fundamental marching, fundamental playing, guard fundamentals, and things like that,” said David Parker, associate band director. “We’re getting ready to start learning the show next week.”
Band camp began on Monday, with 90 students gathering on the band’s practice field to brush up on their marching technique after a season off or, for new members, to learn it for the first time.
“This week we’ve been learning all the work for the show, and next week we’ll be doing drill to set the work that we’ve learned to the movements on the field,” said Victoria Wendell, a senior captain in the color guard.
Practice begins at 8 a.m. with marching, moving to the band room for music rehearsal in the afternoon.
“We’ve been working in our basic block, learning how to march and working on our music,” said Summer Luquer, a junior and one of two marching piccolo players. “We’re on our second song now and it’s sounding pretty good.”
Camp will continue through next week, with a few 12-hour days thrown in to prepare for the first home football game of the season on Aug. 17. During that game, the band will perform the first two movements of its show, entitled “Reaching Greater Heights.”
“We’re actually putting ladders in the show for the guard, like a ladder you take steps on to build yourself up to success,” said drum major and trombonist Hunter Allen. “They’re doing a lot of different stuff from what I’ve seen before, incorporating the ladders, and I think the show kind of produces that effect, too.”
“I think it’s different, but we’re all looking forward to doing something that we’re not used to,” added Hannah Bobbitt, also a color guard senior captain.
The show’s music was originally composed in 2005 for the Croatan High School marching band, but the theme and the routine were designed by Lenny Westmoreland, who has collaborated on past Scotland High marching routines. Next week, Westmoreland will assist the band with their execution of the show.
“It’s a good show; lots of energetic music, a beautiful ballad, a lot of voice overs and lots of excitement - it really builds to the end,” Parker said. “There will be quotes and voice overs all about perseverance and striving to push yourself and make yourself better and reaching higher and achieving things greater than you’ve ever achieved before.”
Area band directors and instrument specialists will also instruct students in the finer points of their music during the second week of camp.
In addition to performing at Scotland’s home games, the marching band will also perform at several competitions this fall, including the Highland Celebration hosted by the high school on Sept. 29.
“We really like performing, when all of your hard work pays off and you put it on the field for everyone to see,” said Wendell.
The band plans to have the full show prepared in time for the third home football game of the season.
“We have three home games back to back, so we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re not going to let that be an excuse not to be out there,” said Britton Goodwin, Scotland High School’s director of bands. “We’re ready to be out there to support the community and to support our football team. The cheerleaders have been out here and the football team has been out here; we’re all going to be ready next Friday and we’re excited to be a part of it.”