The first day of school and the start of fall sports is just around the corner. With the official KHSAA dead period over with, marching bands from all the local high schools are preparing for their season, as well.
Bands from Apollo, Daviess County, Owensboro Catholic and Owensboro either started practice this week or begin band camps next week to get in shape for another school year.
Nathan Clark, director of the Daviess County High School Band of Pride said summer rehearsal serves several purposes — one being it’s the first time the group rehearses as the full band with all returning members and new members present.
DCHS summer practice consists of two weeks of rehearsals from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Each section of the band uses this time a little differently but they focus on performance fundamentals and coordinating the show music and guard work with the drill formations performed on the field.
“This time allows us to teach our warm-up system, the national anthem, school song and begin to stage the field show,” Clark said. Our members also get to see each other as a group for the first time since graduation so there are definitely social reasons as well.”
Clark said the DCHS Band of Pride has a rich performance tradition.
“It is always our goal to provide, refine, and showcase opportunities like this for our students,” he said. “Whether you see the band in concert, at a football game, in a parade or at a competition we aim to be excellent and strive to instill a set of core values related to excellence in our members.”
All of the local bands perform at home football games and compete in various competitions throughout the school year.
Apollo band director Drew Tucker said summer practice is super important because that is their time to be 100 percent focused on the group.
“We don’t have other things that have to be focused on as well and we can truly focus on improving our musicianship, our performing abilities, and growing the group into a more cohesive group and building those relationships that we’re trying to focus on,” he said.
Like Daviess County, Apollo’s summer practices last all day.
Tucker said the first part of the day is working on marching fundamentals and learning the movements for their show and the afternoon is mostly music rehearsals with a little extra marching practice mixed in.
“Our goals for this year is to work to ensure each student is successful and feels like a valued member,” he said. “We’ll go to various contests and obviously we hope to perform and place well but this year since I’m new will certainly be about learning each other and working together to be the best we can be at everything whether it’s marching band, concert band, auditioning for honors groups, or whatever other things the students may be working on.”
Local bands will compete in the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Regionals and then the state marching band championships on the last Saturday of October.
OHS band director Abe Barr said when he arrived at Owensboro in 2013, the marching band was no longer competitive.
“Since then the band has steadily grown in size and quality – consistently qualifying for KMEA State Semifinals and placing in the first or second spots at weekly competitions,” he said.
Barr said ultimately, the staff wants the kids to take pride in what they do.
“The marching activity serves as a vehicle to introduce and reinforce the importance of teamwork, leadership, dedication, and work ethic in the lives of students,” he said. “We want them to have memorable experiences that give them the tools to be successful beyond high school.”