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Let's Get Musical

The Hardin Valley Academy Marching Band is gearing up for its second year as it performs “Hands: A Symbol of Humanity.”

Band director Keith Clupper said, “These guys have done an excellent job. The freshmen have really come on really nicely. Their basics that they are doing and their visuals are really coming on. I was bragging on them today about the freshmen are really starting to push the upperclassmen as far as their basics go, and some really good players too have come up. I think it’s going to be a great year.”

Clupper has been with Hardin Valley Academy since it opened. He came to Karns Middle School in 2000 and took over at the high school the following year. When the opportunity came two years ago to start something new with Hardin Valley, he took it.

“About 900 of our students from Karns were being rezoned,” Clupper said. “It was an opportunity to start something new from the beginning. Not many people get the opportunity to start something from scratch, build our own traditions, so it’s been a really neat experience.”

This year’s program is divided into four movements each depicting different actions the hands take on in life. The first is “Hands in Motion,” the second “Giving Hands,” then “Hands of Faith,” and lastly “Hands of Imagination.”

Clupper said that not only would the students perform songs that represent actions of the hands, but they will illustrate it “through the music and through the visual, through the body, through movement and through the marching.

“A lot of it is added in with body,” Clupper said. “Underneath that, the guard using different colors of silks on the flags, or sabers or rifles. We are also going to be using some backdrops to illustrate each movement that we will have on the field as well.”

In the first movement, “Hand in Motion,” the students act out things that can be done with the hands before they start to perform, such as playing cards or tossing a baseball around. The movement is illustrated by the song “First Circle” by Pat Metheny.

“We kind of take for granted the things that we do with our hands in motion,” Clupper said. “Whether it’s playing a sport or just the daily activities going through your day, or gestures like shaking someone’s hand, giving a high five, things like that. As humans we communicate through our hands so much.”

The second movement, “Giving Hands,” represents more than just generosity.

Clupper said, “It’s the gestures of gifting, not necessarily material things, but the giving of our culture and our background from one generation to the next. Handing down where we came from, our heritage.”

It’s represented by the song “Tis a Gift.”

For “Hands of Faith,” the title of the third movement, Clupper explained that it illustrates how our hands can be used not only in religious service, but as actual symbols of faith.

“You think of hands clasped, maybe praying, that sort of thing, but it’s just that illustration of how we use our hands in gestures of faith. We’re using the tune, ‘The Prayer’ that’s been sung by Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Charlotte Church.

“The fourth movement is ‘Hands of Imagination.’ It’s how we use our hands as humans to create of the imagination. It’s kind of an extension of our imagination, whether it’s drawing or inventing things, building things and how [we] have used our hands as a part of creation and using the imagination.”

They will be playing the song “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” for the last movement.

There will be 90 students marching in this year’s band. Clupper regrets there can’t be more, but realizes students, now more than ever, have to take on more responsibilities.

“There’s more and more requirements of the students as far as their electives go or their classes,” Clupper said. “It really squeezes time for students to be able to participate in the arts, which is unfortunate because it’s a part of school that a lot of kids make the most memories at.

“The family that they become a part of and the memories they take away from it really enrich their experience. They take the life skills that they learn, responsibility, time management, finances, discipline … They take that into the workplace with them regardless of what they are going to be doing as a career later on.”

HVA Band first performed Aug. 21, when Hardin Valley’s varsity football team played Knox Carter.


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