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Warriors push through 12-hour rehearsal days

By Carolina Astrain
Aug. 10, 2012 at 3:10 a.m.

Sophomore Ethan Grason, left, watches as senior Mark Hernandez teaches him the proper way to do a horn pop during a rehearsal of the Band of Warriors at Victoria West High School. Mark is a trumpet lieutenant with the band.

Xylophone chimes followed one after the other down the band hall at Victoria West High School. From a tall metal stand, Adam Ardner waved his hands in the air and summoned waves of sound from his students.

School bells won't be ringing until Aug. 27, but the band is in session.

"It's been a very proactive pre-seaon," said Ardner, band director of the Victoria West High School Warriors.

From Monday through Friday, Ardner worked his troupe for 12 hours.

"The kids were actually the ones who wanted to do more," Ardner said.

Vanischa Stephens, 15, moved to Victoria in June from Austin with her father who is a minister.

Vanischa said she had never done an eight-to-eight before, referring to the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. times they are at practice.

"I push through it," Vanischa said. "It's always good to practice."

Three-star general drum major Sarah Espindola ran from room to room with fresh new sheets of music. As a senior drum major, Sarah is in charge of music and keeping everyone on task.

"I've been in band since sixth-grade and marching band since ninth," Sarah said.

"My aunt was a clarinet player, and I always watched her concert."

On Friday, the band played for the public for the first time during freshman orientation. Ardner said it was evident that the week's work had paid off.

"It was fine and went smoothly," Ardner said.

The Warriors will close Wednesday's Victoria school district faculty convocation and are also set to play on the first day of school.

Sarah said she hopes the band gets a first division in the University Interscholastic League competition this year.

"Sometimes I do wish I could watch TV, but I like being here with all my friends and doing what I like to do," Sarah said.

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