Band of Warriors heated up for this year's show

Aug. 4, 2011 at 3:04 a.m.

Jennifer Tran, 16, captain of the color guard, rehearses in the parking lot of Victoria West High School.

Jennifer Tran, 16, captain of the color guard, rehearses in the parking lot of Victoria West High School.

Commands bellowed from the sky.

"Five, six, seven, eight, corner, front, place, close, reset."

With the last charge, the West High School Band of Warriors hustled and weaved to their precise positions on the concrete marked to look like a football field.

"Reset," the band's associate director John Anderson roared every few minutes from a tower overlooking his students' formations.

Three days of camp and hours of early-morning marching produced what will be the first several seconds of this year's show. With that much accomplished, the 90-member band is already more than a week ahead of schedule.

"There's a lot of work and thought and a lot of people that go into making the shows," Anderson said on their hour long lunch break in the air conditioning. "Even though it's hot outside, they're still cheering. They're still enjoying themselves."

Students marched their individual paths, from yard marker to yard marker, perfecting their timing and line-up under the morning sun.

"Reset," and they did it all over again.

The only time they hustled more than when restarting the formation was to rush to their frequent water breaks under the shade.

This year's drum majors said they think the hardest part of band camp is getting used to the hard work and the heat.

"It's been exhausting, but they've done a good job dealing with it. They've got a lot done," senior drum major Heather Keller said.

Heather, along with junior drum major Sarah Espindola and sophomore drum major Sarah Jackson, said they try to keep the rest of the band pumped through what can be tedious and tiring practices.

Anderson and the drum majors agreed, though, seeing the final product is worth sacrificing the last few weeks of summer for band camp.

"Once you put it all together, it's exciting," Sarah Espindola said.

"It feels good to create something," Sarah Jackson added.

From up in his tower, Anderson said he is able to watch the band's masterpiece unfold. He related each member of the band to ants on a farm.

"Everyone does their own little piece, and it contributes to the whole," Anderson said. "I think one of the awesome things that makes it unlike any other activity is that everyone's being personally accountable and everyone contributes to the overall product."

Off the field and after all the "resets," the bus rides, competitions and spirit contribute to another feature unique to the group that Anderson pointed out is larger than any other high school organization.

"It's a whole social atmosphere unlike anything else. We're a really large family ... so there's that special kind of bond kids get with each other," he said.



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