The Official Student Voice of Copper Hills High School

The Grizzly Growl

From the Grass to the Brass

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Marching Band takes more prep than what is done on the field.

Marching Band takes more prep than what is done on the field.

Riley Baxter

Riley Baxter

Marching Band takes more prep than what is done on the field.

Riley Baxter, Staff Writer

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“Band ten hut,” exclaims the drum majors, calling the band to attention. In unison, louder than an ensemble their size should be, the band replies “Grizzlies” as they snap to a set position. They carry themselves with confidence as they stand completely still, their eyes filled with a pride one has when they’re part of something much bigger than an individual.

The fall season has officially started. Band camp, with its grueling 12-hour days; Thursday night rehearsals, with their jubilant atmospheres; Competitions, with the mixture of adrenaline and excitement, followed by the awe as massive 5A bands take to the field, illuminated by the bright stadium lights. There’s no question why so many students are committed to this, willing to spend hours a day preparing for a 10-minute show.

“The show is about video games,” Drum Major Ashley Pace says, about this year’s show, Retrocade. “It takes you through a series of classic video games, like Final Fantasy, Mario, Mortal Kombat, and Zelda.”

The show has four movements, in that order. “We’re supposed to be an arcade game,” Rachel Furnell, the clarinet section leader says, “and we so we go through various video games.” The band forms shapes on the field, mimicking shapes in the game. This year, many of the shapes will be easily recognizable by avid gamers in the audience.

“We’re producing things that are going to be memorable for this ensemble.” New Band Director Mr. Matthews says, “I think we’re going to turn some heads this year.”

The band has come a long way over the years. “I definitely feel right now, at this present moment, we’ll be slightly more prepared than previous years, because we’ve gone so far in this little bit of time we’ve had,” Furnell says. On the third day of band camp, the ensemble had already prepared two movements and had put one of them on the field.

The practice of setting a movement up to be marched may seem complicated at first. Each performer is given a sheet with coordinates corresponding with markings on the field. They must find each coordinate, or dot, and practice getting to it in the given time. It is not uncommon for students to hit the wrong dot, run into each other, or end up skewing the entire formation by missing their spot.

Hours of diligent practice are spent on performing the music while marching between spots on the field. It takes multiple rehearsals to set a single movement and have it correspond perfectly with the music. If even one member of the band fails to arrive at a rehearsal, or fails to memorize their music, the process can take even longer.

So why do it? What’s so rewarding about spending your afternoons in the heat of the sun, standing still for copious amounts of time, and relying on your peers to not mess up your formation? Many students will tell you it’s seeing the show come together. Others will tell you it’s the close bonds they form with friends over the duration of the season. Though one of the most rewarding parts of the program, it would seem, are the competitions.

“Competitions are just a bundle of emotions,” Pace says. “You feel really nervous, you feel really excited. It’s just really cool. I like competitions.”

Furnell feels that the competitions have a lot to offer for students trying to come together as a group. “When we sit in the stands and bond together as a band,” she says, “when we choose our favorite shows, tell each other what we did good, what we did bad, what we can work on in order to improve.”

So while music, marching, and excitement may be a big part of the band, the competitions and, more importantly, the bonds formed between the students, keep the program growing each year, both in size and spirit.

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The Official Student Voice of Copper Hills High School
From the Grass to the Brass