Marching On


To make the most of a difficult situation, some Petal students will be required to put their best foot forward – in the most literal sense of the phrase.

Petal High School Marching band recently began the start of their band camp for their 2017 marching season.

“Band camp is typically the best part of the whole year,” said Mike Garnand, the head band director at Petal.

From July 17th to July 28th, over 150 PHS students will be sharpening their marching, playing and performance fundamentals to ensure a swell start to the season.

“It’s really a gradual build up to the whole band playing together,” said Garnand. “We have guard in percussion come in (first), and (then) we’ll have our freshman wind players come in during the mornings to work on some marching fundamentals before the rest of the group comes in.”

“(By the end of the first week), the whole group will be here at eight in the morning with all of their ‘bright smiling faces,’” joked Garnand.

In his 33rd year of band instruction, Garnand has become well versed in what to expect out of the Petal band every year.

“We’re able to have everyone together without any distractions of life before school starts. That’s what makes this part a lot more exciting,” said Garnand. “Once school starts, the drama starts, they’ve got academics, and kinds of stuff that can get us detached at times.”

 With the start of another band camp also comes another new marching show for students to master. This year’s show will be centered around the complexities of a leaky pipe, entitled ‘Pipe Werks’.

 “It’s always a work in progress, but it’s going to focused around a pipe dripping and the complications that are involved with trying to fix it. At the end, all of the sudden you figure out the only thing you have to do is twist the faucet. The music is based around the whole feeling of the show.”

Coming up with a marching show each year is no small feat, meaning that no time can be wasted when brainstorming shows for future years. The moment one show ends, the next one is already beginning to take its shape.

 “Usually, if I’m being completely honest with you, we start picking the next year’s show in November of the previous year,” said Garnand. “When we’re done with competitive season at the end of October, we’re usually already tracking stuff down for the next.”

 “It’s a really good feeling when you know you’re accomplishing something – that you’re overcoming something bigger,” said Zach Gregore, drum captain of the Petal band.

For people like Garnand, the time spent involved in the band program is more than just music notes and marching drills – it’s the long-lasting effect that is left on the students when the show is said and done that really makes the whole thing worthwhile.

“It’s truly a life changing experience.”

 To see the Petal High School Marching Band in action in ‘Pipe Werks,’ you can catch them performing at all PHS home football games.