One Time at Band Camp

How band prepares for the marching season


provided by: Cy Woods Band

Drum major, Adrian Chan, speaks to the band before a performance

“Hey band!” a drum major calls out to a room filled with loud, noisy teenagers.

“Hey what?” the band students call back, cutting off any conversation they previously had.

“Go outside!” the drum major shouts out to the band kids. It’s time for marching practice, time to focus.

The band marching season is prepared for before the season even starts. Students are called out to marching practice the first week of August every year in which they spend learning the basics of marching. Band students spend two to four hours outside practicing marching, and later, go inside for a few hours to go to master classes where they split off into their instrumental sections and practice their region music. An hour of lunch follows, and then they go back to work. The students go into larger sections, mainly grouped by woodwinds, brass and percussion, and eventually, come together in the auditorium to practice their marching show music as a group. Usually, these summer practices take up the entire day.

Band starts their practice in August because it gives them time to learn enough of their drills to play at the opening football game, but once school starts, the practices are cut down to three hours, three days a week. They practice the drill for their marching show, learn the last few movements and work on putting the drill and music together.

On game days, practices only last an hour for the Wildcat band, so they can iron out any wrinkles in their show before leaving for the stadium. Although the schedule and practices have been consistent, the Woods band received new uniforms this year. In previous years, the uniforms have been red and black, which in the Texas heat can be stifling, but now they are white and black with a red triangular pattern on the front. This may not be the most exciting of changes, but to the band students, it might as well have been a trip to Disneyland.

As the band sits in the stands waiting for halftime, they dance to drum cadences, the play pop tunes and most importantly, have fun while doing it. When it’s finally time for their halftime show, the students put on their uniform jackets, shakos and sometimes, even get plumes and head onto the field. After the Cadettes perform their dance, it’s time for band.

The cadence begins, the drum majors raise their arms and the rest is show business.