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The band is back together

Farragut High School’s Marching Admirals Band Camp started Monday, July 27, with students hitting the junior parking lot at 9 a.m. to work on their marching formation for this year’s Spanish-themed show, “España.”

“It always tends to be a crowd pleaser,” band director Ron Rogers said of the Spanish theme. “We are doing an old standard called ‘Malagueña’ to open the show, then we are doing a thing from “The Mask of Zorro” called “Diego’s Goodbye,” which is, sort of, I guess you would call it our ballad or ‘down’ portion of the show. It’s real pretty, real melodic, just sort of a way for everyone to catch their breath. Then we are going to end up with a tune called ‘Echano.’ It’s a Chuck Mangione tune.”

With 172 band members this year, Rogers believes that the routine will display the talents of various parts of the band.

“It will show off a lot of our soloists throughout the show. We’ve got a great guard this year, we ought to be really great in all sections.”

Band Camp lasts for two weeks, running from 9 a.m. to noon in the mornings, then from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the afternoons, and finally 6 to 9 p.m. at night. Not only does that preparation ease any anxiety that

students may have about marching, but it

conditions them physically for performing.

“We take this just a seriously as what the football team does… as what any great performing organization does,” Rogers said. “We’ll have about 170 kids. It’s still one of the two or three largest in the state of Tennessee. With those numbers, it just takes lot of hours of preparation to do this thing, so the best way to do it is to bring them in for these two weeks very intensively.”

“We have to get them a good understanding of fundamental marching, fundamental playing on a high school level, because of all the incoming freshmen that have never done anything like this before. It’s just so we can come out for the first football game and make sure that we represent ourselves, and the school and the community well.”

The first week is pretty much hard-core rehearsing. Week two ends on a lighter note, with rehearsals cutting out early on Thursday for the band dance, and again on Friday for the band camp barbeque. A preview of the halftime show will follow at 8 p.m. Reservations and payments for the barbeque are due Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The dance and the barbeque are organized by the band boosters, parents of band students who help out with band functions. Band booster co-President Jeff Budge explains how critical band boosters is to make band practices and performances go off without a hitch.

“We provide everything from refreshments to first aid and other things to help watch over band camp,” Budge said. “We chaperone the football games, the bus trip, and so forth. We handle all the equipment when we have to do large percussion on the sideline, or we need to load up a truck to go to an away game. The booster organization takes care of all of that.”

Band boosters also help raise money for the band by selling concessions at the football game and helping with the annual fruit sale.

“We have the best kids and the best parents,” Rogers said. “We have parents that provide Gatorade, and they’ll provide snacks. Some of the local merchants donate fruit, cups, all of the things needed to make this program work. Band is not an inexpensive ordeal. It’s over $300 to be in the band. With all that, its nice to have these parents, and these merchants and this community that understand how important the band is, and that want to see the band continue to be successful, and are willing to step up and do whatever they need to.”

Aside from marching during the halftime shows, the band will be competing in three different contests this year. However, some routines that might thrill parents and students aren’t exactly what contest judges are looking for. It’s Rogers’ job to find that balance so his students can achieve in both areas.

“Sometimes you end up walking a fine line between being able to entertain everybody on Friday nights and still be successful on Saturdays at contests you go to,” Rogers said. “We try to find a middle ground to where we can do both, and I think this is a show that will do both for us.”

The band’s first official performance will be during the football halftime show Aug. 21 at Farragut High School, when the Farragut Admirals battle the Kingsport

Dobyns-Bennett Indians.


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