Marching to their own beat

By DALTON FOX,

While most students are taking a long break this summer, the dedicated students of the Oak Grove Band are already hard at work.

The band has just entered their second week of band camp, and are working every day to prepare their 2017-2018 show, Trapped.

The members of the band show up every morning, bright and early, at 8 a.m. They must show up ready to work, for they immediately head outside. These mornings are some of the most important of the entire season.

First, every morning they stretch and run, providing a good warm-up and a little bit of exercise to the day. From there, they enter what is known as a "fundamentals block."

The students line up in rows with their instruments by their side. They wait silently for instructions to come from Assistant Band Director Jerin Harrison.

In this block, they will practice the fundamentals of marching band. They do seemingly endless repetitions to master the roll step, a way of marching where the step moves from the heel to the toe; keeping their legs straight while marching, with only a little knee bend where necessary; sliding, a form of marching where the legs face one direction and the body another; and direction changes, where you plant one foot and begin motion in a different direction.

After fundamentals, they will begin to learn drill. This consists of the field locations and movements that the performers must make whilst performing the show. They will do this until noon, with an occasional water break.

At noon they break for lunch, and must be back in two hours. At this point, many are exhausted, but they know that they must return for the afternoon block, and are just getting better.

"Band camp means hard work and dedication, to do everything as a group and for one purpose," said John Scott, a senior trombone player.

At 2 p.m. the students return, refreshed and ready to play. They stay inside for most of the afternoon, learning how to play the show music. They have many talented directors and guests to help each individual section learn how to play.

"I really like the show. It's my favorite show that we've done so far, and it has really hard music," mentioned Franja Mallery, a junior in the front ensemble.

Around 4:30 p.m., the students migrate back outside to the practice field, where they will practice more drill and visuals, weather permitting. At 6 p.m. they are released, tired and weary.

However, by the next morning they are ready to get to work again. The second week is the last week for many of the band's almost 215 performers. However, there are some students who go for a third week.

The color guard and percussion (consisting of drumline and front ensemble) have a third week of band camp, all to themselves. They will use this week to go even deeper into the music and have a greater preparation come time for a competition.

"We want to have a very strong fundamental, musical, and visual program and have a good chunk of the opener on the field," Sharon Laird, Director of Bands at Oak Grove, said about her goals for band camp.

Band camp is a very important time for these students in preparing them for the show, but also in developing friendships within the band and strengthening their ties with their band members.

"It makes me sad, and I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss being sweaty," Scott said about this being his last year at band camp.

Their show is called Trapped, and will feature many props and have a high energy design. The music and drill are designed to reflect this. The band hopes that they can have many great accomplishments this year, especially after their silver medal finish at state championships last year, the highest in the band's history.

The band will continue to work on the program throughout late October, and can possibly even perform the show throughout the winter, depending on the football team's success. They will have many competitions along the way, until state championships, which is generally the last Saturday in October.

The band will first debut their show to the public at the (Month Day) football game, and will have their first competition at Oak Grove's very own marching band competition, Groovin' In The Grove, on (Month Day.)