Local high school marching bands have the beat
by Mark Andrews
Oct 06, 2013 | 3241 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Strike up the Band
Jesse Attaway performing with the Cass High School marching band. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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As local football teams hit the field on Friday night, so do more than 400 high school band members across Bartow County. With each school regularly participating in competitions and local and nationally recognized parades and performances, band directors say the role the activity plays in the lives of students goes well beyond music instruction by helping form character and providing opportunities to advance students’ academic careers.

The Daily Tribune News contacted our local band directors for a glimpse into what the bands are up to this season and what they are looking forward to in the upcoming year.

Cass High School: Band Director Mack Roberts

Who is assisting you this year with the direction of the band?

A: This year Lori Kendrick — our flag instructor; and Megan Pruitt — band director at Cass Middle School, have been very instrumental in the development and teaching of this year’s show. Also helping has been Jarrod Roberts in the pit percussion.

How many students this year are participating in band?

A: We are a little larger this year than last year with 81 members total.

Can you explain your halftime performance, including the song selection?

A: With our plans this year including a mass band halftime performance at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, it was determined early on that a jazz show of some sort would be complimentary of that upcoming performance. So, we decided on “Hot Latin Jazz” as our theme. Songs are several of the old Latin jazz standards of the 1970’s and 80’s. Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good,” “Children of Sanchez” and “Echano” are included in the show, as well as “Dindi,” a Latin piece with a little samba feel.

What has been one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for this year’s performance?

A: The most difficult challenge for us this year has been the tremendous effort required by the students, and those assisting me with the show this year, due to my extended absence during the summer and first three weeks of school. However, everyone has worked extremely hard and met the challenge with a full head of steam. This is truly a very special group.

Are you preparing for any competitions during football season or post football season?

A: The Cass High Band will be competing at one of the longest running and most prestigious competitions in Georgia — Peach State — in Rome. We will also be performing a mass band halftime performance at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 2014.

Cartersville High School: Band Director David Snipes

Who is assisting you this year with the direction of the band?

A: My assistant band director is Michael Elzey. I have several band booster parents who have helped with band camp.

How many students this year are participating in band?

A: Over 100.

Can you explain your halftime performance, including the song selection?

A: We are doing “I Wanna Rock!” featuring music from the 1980’s such as “We Built This City,” “We’re Not Going to Take It,” “I Can’t Fight this Feeling Anymore” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

What has been one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for this year’s performance?

A: Getting the crowd into the show will be a fun challenge.

Are you preparing for any competitions during football season or post football season?

A: We are going to three competitions.

Adairsville High School: Band Director Kerry Bryant

Who is assisting you this year with the direction of the band?

A: I am assisted by Nikki Mote — percussion instructor; Lacarey Hunley and Kelly Storm — color guard/auxiliary instructors.

How many students this year are participating in band?

A: The marching band has 80 members. The band program overall involves 90 students.

Can you explain your halftime performance, including the song selection?

A: The show is entitled “Joyful Jubilation.” It uses famous classical themes, in three parts, arranged in mash-ups to portray the triumph of the human spirit, praise, reverence and, of course, joy. Some of the classical masterworks used are J.S. Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” Gruber’s “Stille Nacht (Silent Night)” and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from his famous oratorio “The Messiah.” All of these various themes are interwoven around the musical basis of the show, Beethoven’s “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” used in his Ninth Symphony. These themes are treated in very modern musical ways.

What has been one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for this year’s performance?

A: From my perspective as the new incoming band director, the time frame I normally have to prepare a show, organize band camp, hire staff, get drill written, musical charts done, etc. Starting usually in April was compressed down to late June into July. It was quite a busy summer, not to mention my own family’s move from Barrow County to Bartow County.

Are you preparing for any competitions during football season or post football season?

A: We will be attending the Golden River Marching Classic at Haralson County High School on Oct. 19 in Tallapoosa. We also [performed] at the annual Great Locomotive Chase Festival in downtown Adairsville Oct. 5 and an annual holiday parade in December.

Woodland High School: Band Directors Eric Willoughby and Wesley Brooks

Who is assisting you this year with the direction of the band?

A: Ben Jett and Matt Mastrifort — percussion instructors; Robert Moyer and Jackie Buckelew — auxiliary instructors.

How many students this year are participating in band?

A: The Woodland Wildcat Band has 225 members this year.

Can you explain your halftime performance, including the song selection?

A: The halftime show is titled “The Way of the Samurai” and is presented in four movements: Strength, Courage, Hope and Honor. The program features original music based on several Japanese folk songs, such as “Sakura” (“Cherry Blossom”), “Aka Tanbo” (“Red Dragonfly”), “Oborozuki” (“Moonlit Night”), “Takai-Yama” and “Hinamatu.” The final movement features Taiko drumming on authentic Japanese Taiko drums.

What has been one of the most challenging aspects of preparing for this year’s performance?

A: Honestly, preparations for this year have been quite smooth. We have wonderful volunteers and staff, and this year’s band is very hard working. I anticipate that we will have a great year.

Are you preparing for any competitions during football season or post football season?

A: In addition to performing at all of the Woodland football games, the Woodland Band will be competing in three regional band competitions this season, along with their annual performance in the Cartersville Christmas Parade.