Band camp activities wrap up
Cassville band prepares for exciting school year
The Cassville band is heard in town throughout the school year at shows, games and even while practicing, and the directors have developed an approach that is keeping the band members in control of their class.
Two days of camp for color guard began July 22, and there were Monday through Friday practices for the percussion and three days for wind instruments. This time is used primarily for learning music. One teaching technique is to utilize the experienced upperclassmen to help instruct the new freshmen in short sessions, which has proven effective. The Cassville High School Wildcat Band will participate in four competitions this fall beginning Sept. 21 at Carl Junction, with other festivals at Mt. Vernon, MSU, and Reeds Spring.
Erica Gorman, high school band assistant director and middle school band director, said this summer’s band camp was a success.
“A huge thing for the students was the student-organized car wash over the weekend,” she said. “They wanted to raise funds to send them to a fourth competition this school year, we haven’t done a final count yet, but I would say they raised close to $1,100, which is nearly enough money to make the trip.”
Gorman said the band is organized by sections, so there is a percussions section, clarinet section and so on.
“The students that are in charge of each section are called the section leaders,” she said. “They are upperclassmen, usually seniors. The percussion, clarinet and flute sections practiced all summer, and they organized their own practices once a week.”
Gorman said the seniors are really excited about the show this year, and they really wanted to go to that fourth competition and have fun.
“The students have approached us with ideas for the next year, so they are really thinking ahead,” she said. “Band Director Ed Lammers has given the students a lot of responsibility the last few years. He has helped them to see that it is their band, and we want to help them make it their own.”
Gorman said if the students want extra practices or an extra competition, they have to figure out how to make that happen.
“The upperclassmen have really done well with this approach, and it is setting a great example for the younger students,” she said. “We have a chain of command throughout the band, the section leaders, drum majors and then the star and directors.”
Gorman said the last two years, the eighth grade band has been taught how to play the pre-game.
“So, the eighth-grade band got to join the high school band and perform the pre-game, national anthem, fight song and the alma mater,” she said. “Then, they got to sit with the band for the first half of the game and watch the halftime show.”
Gorman said things like that help them get interested in the marching band and start to feel like they are a part of it and know what they are doing when they get there.
“We do have some exciting ideas for the school year that we are working on right now, but we aren’t ready to announce it just yet,” she said. “We are working on ways to get the eighth-graders more involved.”
Gorman said she became a teacher because of being in band in high school.
“I recognized how these types of things helped me and what I learned from it,” she said. “And, I am going to spend the rest of my life passing them on to my classes.”
Gorman said the community really comes together for the band, and that is important.
“The car wash was all donation-based, and it was very successful,” she said. “It really shows how much the community loves its band.”
Gorman said more focus on sharing things on social media and getting the community involved will help the community feel more like a part of the band.
“Band camp lasted for two weeks, and we had a theme each day,” she said. “On Monday, each section had a color and dressed accordingly. Tuesday was tribal day because the show this year has a tribal theme. Wednesday was theme day where each section picked a theme. Thursday was crazy hat day, and Friday was Hawaiian day.”
Gorman said the band’s themes have been a tradition for the last four or five years.
“One of the highlights was a visit from the Cassville Fire Department to provide a little water relief on one of the hot afternoon sessions,” she said. “The students had fun and were refreshed.”
Gorman said the band works hard for what they want.
“They come in at 7 a.m. every morning for practice,” she said. “And once a week we do sectionals after school. The band has great support from the Band Boosters, parents who provide meals during the camp as well as other support during the season.”
Lammers said the students really like the new approach being used with the sections.
“The evidence is in the student-driven education and instruction,” he said. “They ask for what they want, and they help make it happen and to implement it.”
Lammers said for the band program that is the most successful aspects.
“Bringing in the younger band members to work with the high school band is really helping to build an interest in the program as well,” he said. “We have been building this approach for a couple of years and it is really important.”
Lammers said everyone is looking forward to a successful season.
“We hope people come out to see our shows,” he said.