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East HS band puts fun into training

By Carolina Astrain
Aug. 14, 2012 at 3:14 a.m.
Updated Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.

Members of the Victoria East High School Marching Band stretch before running through its first show sets of the marching season. Students learned the first part of their performance without their instruments by going through their marching routines, step by step, with Band Director David Edge.

A cool breeze whipped through the air Friday evening at the Victoria East High School parking lot.

Light spatters of grumps and groans were released as the East Titan Band's section leaders led the afternoon stretching exercises.

There weren't any uniforms on at that point, but the sections were colorfully dressed. Some were wearing Olympic -themed shirts, while others wore blue sequined caps, sunglasses and even winter hats.

Their funny dress is part of a spirit-building exercise the Titans try to do annually during their preseason training.

A blue cloth was wrapped around senior Roman Zamora's face as he carefully found his position on the parking lot.

"I'm trying to go all out with the blue," Roman said. "We're about to have the Band Olympics, where we compete in different events."

For Roman the fun-and-games part of band is what keeps him coming back, but the extra push and pressure on his grades to stay in band keeps him moving toward his goals.

"This being my last year, I'm glad we're going out with a bang," Roman said.

Pre-season training started July 30, said David Edge, band director. The band practices from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

"A lot of it is getting the kids acclimated to the heat," Edge said. "Marching band skills are different from walking."

The band took up a large stretch of the parking lot, 104 students learning their marching positions. For almost two hours, their instruments went untouched as they meticulously marked on index cards where there positions are supposed to be for each marching set.

"Unfortunately, the state of Texas only lets us go to state every other year and that was last year," Edge said. "We're not going to state, but we have some other great competitions were going to around the state to keep the excellence level up."

The director said they try to treat every performance as another opportunity for more practice.

On Saturday, the East band will perform at Unleash the Beast, a school pep rally for Victoria East High School. The pep rally serves as an introduction to the student organizations at the school.

"It's just like a parade at the Olympics," Edge said. "It's a huge pep rally. We'll do a stand-still performance of the school song and the fight song."

Band parent Saber Sparkman is putting her third child through band this year. Her son Bruce plays the trumpet and serves as the band's chaplain.

"It's exciting, tiring and exhausting," Sparkman said. "You never have to worry about where they are because they're always at band practice."

In addition to a busy band schedule, students are required to maintain at least a B average in the rest of their classes. This requirement is another reason why Roman said he never wanted to let band go.

"I plan on becoming a deep sea welder," Roman said. "Band has helped me keep my grades up."



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