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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Band camp preps fiery routine for football season

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Practicing line shifts in pairs, members of the Monett High School Marching Pride worked on their season's routine during band camp, which was held last week and this week at the school practice field and in drill sessions in the school. Band Boosters provided lunch for the students each day. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Band camp has been underway this week at Monett High School. This is the fourth year for Danika White as band director and Jared Brown as assistant director, and the first year all the students have learned band under the current teaching staff.

"The kids decided they want to see how far they can take it this year," White said. "They're on a mission.

"They made it to the finals a couple times last year [in competition], and they liked it. Now their goal is not if, but when, they make the finals," White said.

This year's band is largely shaped by young students. In a total ensemble of around 80, there will be seven seniors and 30 freshmen.

"We train our leadership," said White. "We have 20 kids on the leadership team. They're doing a great job."

Camp has gone well since it began last Thursday. Students have been working on getting the music for marching season learned so they can start on memorization. By the end of camp, all the band members are to have memorized the school fight song, the school toast and the National Anthem.

Drills have been held during both morning and afternoon sessions. White has been up in the Junior ROTC program's rappelling tower giving instructions over a bullhorn as students counted along with an amplifier clicking out beats before practicing marching steps.

"This group of freshmen are pretty athletic. Things are coming together a littler faster," White said. She has also been pleased with their progress on the music.

"The kids like it," White said. "It's a little harder than what we were doing. They've really stepped up to the challenge."

This year's marching program will be "Goddess of Fire," an original composition by contemporary concert band composer Steven Reineke, from Cincinnati, Ohio. Reineke is the newly appointed music director-designate of the New York Pops. For 13 years, Reineke served as a composer and arranger for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

White described the program's music as expressing "the different moods of the volcano," including anger, peace before the eruption, the eruption itself and the people's reaction. Although the piece does not have a particular Hawaiian flavor, the piece is named for Pele, goddess of the two volcanoes on the big island of Hawaii.

"Listen for the French horn solos," White said, "the lava flowing, the part where the soft lyrical stuff reflects life renewing afterwards. It's the life cycle."

The band's sound this year also fits the piece and what the directors have been pursuing.

"Jared and I shoot for a dark and warm----warm chocolate brown----sound," White said. "We've got a real healthy brass line: six tubas, four baritones and eight trombones. It's a good bottom end. That really is heading us where we want to be."

The public will get their first look at the band's routine at the first home football game. No sneak peeks will be offered at pre-season outings.

The marching routine also relies heavily on its flag corps. White described their style as more modern, one without props this year.

"The flags are a huge part of the show, with all the color they bring to the field." White said. "Like the fire at the beginning. They help us tell the story. The costumes are very colorful as well."

The flag corps will continue past football season and present a routine at basketball games as part of Winter Guard. White said Winter Guard has been catching on in the area and now has teams from Neosho, Webb City and Joplin putting on performances.

Monett's band competition season includes Webbstock in Webb City on Sept. 26, Reeds Spring on Oct. 10, Ozarko at Missouri State University in Springfield on Oct. 17 and Central Missouri University at Warrensburg on Oct. 24.

This will also be an exciting year for the students as they prepare to participate in the Memorial Day 2010 parade in Washington, D.C. With travel, the trip will take four days and three nights with students sleeping on the buses.

White said the Band Boosters are planning a number of fundraising events to help the effort. Susan Childress is helping to organize a trivia night with teams competing. White is working on a blues-and-barbecue evening, one of several major events to be held throughout the year.

"We're really excited about everything that's going on," Brown said about starting the fourth year together as a teaching team.

"We're both pleased at where the program is going," White added. "We're starting with large numbers at the bottom that we'll be seeing come up in future years. The kids have stuck with us and buy into what we're doing. We're really looking forward to it."

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