The 47 members of the Monett High School Marching Pride band and flag corps practiced playing and marching as well as holding a straight, not wavy, line in preparation for their season.
Offering comments of his own was Philip Soule, the new band director. Soule comes to Monett from the Joplin School District, where he last served as choir, orchestra and general music instructor.
"My teaching style is still in development," Soule said. "A professor I had once said, 'Have fun and learn something.' As long as the students come away with that, great."
Soule's band is young, about half freshmen, which he felt was an encouraging reflection of interest in the program. Band camp offers an opportunity to drill on basics and shape teamwork for the year ahead. Tuesday was "section dress alike" day to encourage group activity.
Band camp is being held this year at the practice field west of Burl Fowler Stadium and in the middle school band room. Questions about maintenance on the high school air conditioning system and concerns about over-stressing the high school field led to the switch.
Camp was held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and will run from 2 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday.
Soule began his career at a 2A-sized school running a band program, then moved to work for a 28-year veteran teacher as assistant at Warrensburg High School, a 4A school with 140 in the band. Becoming familiar with being the top band person has been an adjustment for Soule. He credited Borgmann for thinking ahead on drills and keeping camp moving forward while Soule provides direction.
Five past band members have also been on hand this week helping the students hold their lines and swing into marching mode. Bridget Barta is the senior drum major and her assistant is Kenny Mobley.
This year's competition program will be "Pandora's Box," a Greek-themed program that will include a 12-by-12-by-12 box that the band will emerge from and march through. There will also be mythology-related costumes.
"The music will have a lot of ups and downs, powerful and subtle, kind of dark and upbeat at the same time," Soule said. "It will be interesting, something the kids can grab hold of and take off with."
Band members will have their first outing before the public on Pride Night on Saturday, Aug. 11. The program will be presented at halftime during home games.
The band's competition season will include: Webbstock in Webb City on Sept. 22; Valhalla at Springfield Parkview on Oct. 6; Reeds Spring High School on Oct. 13; and the Festival of Champions in Warrensburg on Oct. 20.
"I hope to bring the program up to the glory days in Monett," Soule said. "We've got to get the numbers up. We want to have a family atmosphere with the kids."