Published on August 7th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
District Five marching bands hold summer camps, events to prepare for the season
Students in Irmo High School’s marching band participate in an early August practice.
IRMO – These are not your typical summer camps. While most students are savoring the last few days of summer, at least one group has already returned – holding camps and preview events to get a head start on the year ahead.
Lexington-Richland School District Five bands at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools are holding camps and preview events in preparation for the start of their marching season. Chapin High School’s marching band, which won a 3A state championship last year, held an “Extravaganza” on August 5 during its two-week band camp. Dutch Fork High School kicked off a two-week camp on July 29, while Irmo High School will mark the end of their camp with a Parent Preview Show at 7:30 p.m. on August 13.
“It all starts here,” said Dutch Fork Band Director Paul Clayton, who saw his symphonic band earn a Grade VI ‘Superior’ rating last school year. “For our marching band, summer band camps are a way for us to get everybody together and start to unify ourselves into one cohesive sound and one cohesive band unit. It sends the message that we’re all doing this together for one big goal…We want to be the best we can be.”
At Irmo High School, an international school for the arts, this year’s camp included 12-hour day practices paired with fun, themed-activities. Band director Roger Simpson said the school has held camps for several years now to get students excited about the marching season.
“We take several weeks of after school rehearsal and concentrate them into these two weeks of band camp, so we’re getting what could amount to six weeks of after school rehearsals into these two weeks,” said Simpson, who had a number of students earn placement on All State, Honor Band and other prestigious band rosters last year. “While we’re out here, it’s not just playing and marching. We’re doing team building exercises. We’re pairing new students with older students…it helps us come together and create a family environment.”
Irmo High School drum major Crysta Caldwell said camp is a lot of hard work with the goal of getting everyone ready for the long season ahead. “We do a lot of conditioning, strength building, core building and a lot of team building as well,” said Caldwell, a senior. “The band just helps to unite kids so that they know they have a family to go to and someone to lean on during the year. Band is a team effort, and we need everyone to succeed.”
Marching band competitions begin as early as mid-September. Irmo High School will host bands from around the state at this year’s Palmetto Esprit de Corps Invitational on October 10. State championship contests will be held on Oct. 31 at two Midlands high schools. The 5A State Championships will be held at Irmo High School on Nov. 7.
Summer camps help bands plan for the season, acclimate new students and build comradery, said Keven Hebert, band director for Chapin High School.
“These two weeks are vital to the success of the rest of the season because it sets the tone for the rest of the season,” Hebert said. “This year, we have had a very positive group with great attitudes. They work hard and they play hard. They are putting the work in now so that they will be able to enjoy making music later.”