Band Summer Rehearsal

Bronco band members rehearse for their upcoming show during the summer.

Paige Lynn Mills

Bronco band members rehearse for their upcoming show during the summer.

Clouds fill the early morning, summer sky as band students gather in groups. Cars pull up to the practice field parking lot and students file out. They pull their flags and instruments out with them while others walk down from the band hall to the practice field parking lot. Students make small talk as they wait for rehearsal to start.

As students continue to arrive on the practice field, senior Hannah Keetch takes attendance of the color guard section. Students greet one another as they pass by. The sharp sound of the whistle rings and the band goes to set, a position of attention where the band stands still and awaits further instructions.

“I need you to set the block with water bottles,” assistant band director Andrew Nance said, “and go.”

“Hustle,” the band said in unison as they grab their water and run to the block, a formation where the band does fundamentals and stretching.  

Once the band sets their block, Mr. Nance announces they will run a lap, and the band moves to the front of the field. Students wait for everyone to gather at the front and they begin their lap. As students finish running, they return to their spot in the block, panting and out of breath.

“Don’t sit down. Don’t lay down. Don’t eat a cheeseburger,” Mr. Nance said. “Keep moving and breathing because if you don’t breathe you die.”

Once everyone finishes running, color guard instructor Nick McMahan leads the band in stretching. As the band continues to stretch, the front ensemble begins to roll their equipment down to the field from the band hall. Once they have set up their equipment, they start to play their warm ups as their hands move fast and the notes escape with a smooth sound.

“Here’s what we’re going to do next,” Mr. Nance said into the microphone after the band has completed stretching. “Annabelle is going to lead you through the body movement stuff up through everything we’ve done so far.”

Junior Annabelle Riddle explains the body movement exercise, going through each movement of plies, shoulder rolls and neck rolls count by count. It begins to rain lightly, but the band continues to warm-up as though nothing happened. The rain comes down harder, soaking students’ hair and clothes, and covering the glasses of some students. The band goes frantic.

The front ensemble rushes to cover their equipment, the woodwinds run over to the sidelines to cover their instruments and the color guard sprints to put their flags under the trees. Once the band safely puts everything away, they continue to go through their body movement exercise in the rain.

“Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean we change how we do things,” Riddle said.

The rain comes down harder and the band gathers their things and moves to continue rehearsal inside.

The color guard enters the cafeteria one by one. As they unroll their flags, water drips from the silk of the flag and on to the floor. Guard members wave their flags in the air in attempt to dry them off.

“Take the silks off the polls please,” Mr. McMahan said as he walks into the cafeteria. “When you’re done with the polls bring them to me.”

Students place the polls at Mr. McMahan’s feet and carry the silks to the bathrooms so they can dry them under the hand dryers. Students return to the cafeteria one by one and place the mostly dry silks on a table. They sit down and begin to talk as they wait for everyone to return.

“I think my bag took most of the impact of the rain,” freshman Kady Alliss said.

“Oh yeah,” freshman Christina Flores said. “My phone. How does that look?”

She pulls out her phone and seems satisfied with its condition. Guard members begin to put the tables up in preparation for rehearsal. Once the guard puts all the tables up and to the side of the cafeteria, they decide to play a game of Family Feud. They split into two teams and Mr. McMahan begins to ask questions. The guard tries to answer as quickly as possible in order to get a point for their team. Laughter and shouting echos through the room as guard members encourage their team mates throughout the game.

After the game, the guard performs their warm-up exercises. They then form a circle and prepare to do a performance exercise where a guard member will go in the middle of the circle and perform choreography they come up with. They then switch places with someone in the circle and put someone new in the spotlight. Once everyone goes, Mr. McMahan changes the song and the exercise begins again. After three rounds of this exercise, the rehearsal ends.

“I’ll see y’all on Monday,” Mr. McMahan said.  

Students begin to put their shoes on, gather their things and head back to the band hall, satisfied with the work they had accomplished.