As steam rises off the pavement, the students stride across the parking lot.
They have prepared for months just to be ready to practice. They will be tried physically and emotionally months before their first competition.
This is the first week of band camp for Boonville High School’s Band of Gold. Director Fran Vile said the almost 60 members have been practicing since May for their 2016 show titled “Under the Stars.”
He said the two week camp is only a portion of the work the band and guard members will put in before the first performance in August and the first competition in September.
“We’re starting to put the pieces together,” he said. “The number pieces that go into that are just mind boggling.”
In January, the show’s concept was born and the team has been working ever since to bring the show together.Vile said the band as a whole will work to continue to put together music, drill, costuming, flag work and props to pull the entire show together to be performance ready.
“It’s a matter of putting all the pieces, all the concepts floating around, into reality,” he said.
Vile said as a director and as a team, he has hopes and expectations for the band. However, the students’ expectations are more important, he said.
“Ultimately, it comes down to their performance,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be performers able to enjoy what we’re doing and make an enjoyable experience for the audience every time we perform.”
Field commander and senior Lindsey Wilson said even the less experienced of the members seem ready and willing to put in the work. She said the group has learned a lot from previous years and is ready to put their skills into action.
“We’re determined to make a good show,” she said. “Situations will change, but your awards are won at practice.”
Assistant field commander and senior Katie Underhill said the two weeks of band camp can be hard, especially for younger members. But, she said the work pays off in the end.
“You may be tired but it’s worth it by the end of the season,” she said. “My favorite part is the end of the season standing under the lights and you come off the field feeling good about what you’ve achieved.”
Wilson and Underhill said their show this year will be theatrical and will stand out from many others, but their strong suit will continue to be their music.
“I’m excited about our special effects and how the melody passes around the field,” Wilson said.
In the end, the two said their experience in band is about more than the performances or the awards. They said the lessons they’ve learned in band have carried over into their entire life.
“The one thing I learned in the end is about not giving up,” Wilson said. “I know I can do what I want to do even if it’s hard or a little bit painful.”
Wilson said she has found a family in band which helped her come out of her shell. She said the camaraderie in band helps prepare students for high school and for life.
“Band teaches responsibility,” she said.
Vile said he is proud of the band members and is proud to be a part of their dedication.
“They are a highly committed group of teens dedicated to the pursuit of music excellence,” he said. “They are meeting or exceeding expectations. They have stepped up their game.”
Vile said all of this comes as no surprise. He said the students involved in band have always been dedicated with great attitudes.
“They’re figuring out what they’re capable of,” he said. “They’re capable of more than they think.”
But for Vile, that’s what makes him happy to be a part of that group.
“That’s what the job is all about—watching them find out who they are and being a part of that process,” he said.