Band Camp One and Two: Ushering in the 2019-2020 Panther Band

By Nick Austin and Allison Rigler

Closing Ceremony on the last day of Band Camp One gives students a chance to show parents and alumni what the band has been working on through the week. Photo by Lorna Lavu

Two weeks before the first day of school, the Panther Band held their annual Summer Band Camp aka Band Camp One. Band Camp One is five days of intense work and fun, introducing the new members to the marching style, the music, and the band family. Each day is a full day, 8am to 5pm, with two days having night activities: one day had a night rehearsal and the other had a team dinner with a scavenger hunt. Assistant Director Aki Ross remarked, “ Band Camp is important because it sets the pace for the entire year, if you start off strong then it helps set the tone for the expectations of the year, especially for incoming freshmen who are not sure what the program is…which is to me the most important part.”

The days consisted of a morning marching block, a music rehearsal block and an afternoon block. Throughout the week the new members were taught the band cheers that are for every football game and band competition. Every band member went through learning the marching and maneuvering step by step so they all could be on the same page. The Band director remarked,“Band Camp is important because it pulls everyone together without the outside influence of school work-we get everybody together and we teach them what it takes to be in the band how to be in the band. We build comradery before school even starts.”

Along with learning how to march and maneuver and play the march, the band members were introduced to the band family. “Our band camp  is unique in that we spend a lot of time and effort on things that aren’t related to marching and playing. Band Camp is not so much the learning how to march, it is the building of family and the idea that everyone takes care of everyone else, and marching is a vehicle for that, “ Mr. Martin said.  One of the most important things that sets the Panther Band apart from other bands is the importance of band family, and every day before lunch there were talks about mindfulness and meditation by a guest speaker, cementing the idea that this band truly cares about each other and their well being. 

Band Family is so strong in the Panther Band that alumni come back all the time, including the Assistant Director Aki Ross, who graduated in 2008 but came back to help out at band camps years following. “ What’s kinda cool to me is how [the band program] has changed over the years, from when I was an incoming freshman in 2004. There’s so many things that are different, but it’s kinda cool to see new people come into the program and even see them after they’ve graduated. ITs cool to see people come back through their years in high school and even return [after they graduate], its cool because it reminds me what i did, that why i still come back because I want to help people get out of the [band] what I got out of it.”

Students were split into eight teams this year and had nineteen team leaders. These team leaders began to plan Band Camp One in June, deciding on the theme, scavenger hunt, and games for the week. The drum major for the highschool said “Pretty much all of it is student run and student planned….it’s sort of a unique thing when it comes to our band camp because when talking to other schools the team leader sort of just show up and everything is taken care of by the staff”. This year’s theme was Gods and Goddesses, so Red Team for example was God of War; Purple Team was God of Wisdom, ect. Band Camp 1 was not only a time to learn the ropes, but it was also a competition! Each team competes for points in the form of stickers, earned through winning games, or being rewarded for hard work by the staff. This year, Pink Team won! 

Band Camp One is very student oriented, the Team Leaders met many times before band camp to plan and they even met at Starbucks at 6am, two hours before Band Camp started to plan out the day as a unit. One of the band Co-Presidents laughed, “We looked kinda crazy in Starbucks on the theme days, a lot of us came in tutus or costumes. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were Team Color Day, Crazy Day, and Theme Day respectively, and all of the team leaders went all out dressing up!” 

Two weeks before the first day of school, the Panther Band held their annual Summer Band Camp aka Band Camp One. Band Camp One is five days of intense work and fun, introducing the new members to the marching style, the music, and the band family. Each day is a full day, 8am to 5pm, with two days having night activities: one day had a night rehearsal and the other had a team dinner with a scavenger hunt. Assistant Director Aki Ross remarked, “ Band Camp is important because it sets the pace for the entire year, if you start off strong then it helps set the tone for the expectations of the year, especially for incoming freshmen who are not sure what the program is…which is to me the most important part.”

This year is a very exciting year, with the Panther Band competing in the Fleet Week competition and participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, and the hard work and energy showed. Band Director Mr. Martin remarked“ The freshmen seemed to buy into what we were trying to do pretty quickly and they showed a good amount of spirit.”  

   But that’s not the only band camp this year! The band held their second band camp of the year this past weekend on friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th. This camp as described by one of the co-presidents was to “bring it all together”. What she meant by that was that the band has been working constantly from the time Band Camp One ended until Band Camp Two started to perfect the march, lock in the marching style and build chemistry with each other. Band Camp Two is the time where the band starts to realize their potential and when they start to look ahead towards fleet week and their New York trip in March. The band has traveled to New York, but Mr. Martin elaborates that, “Even though we did it in 2012 this is going to be a completely different trip. More kids are going , we have about 100, the band will be more entertaining, the band will have more fun playing.”

 After Band Camp Two was over on Saturday the band held a potluck at 9th street park. This potluck was to bring everyone in band closer together and enjoy food and games while doing so. A current band member described the potluck as “ A great experience that everyone looks forward to and uses as motivation to get through Band Camp Two.” As you can see band isn’t only serious work, thay have some fun while doing it. 

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