Titans in tune as band camp begins (w/video)

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

July 31, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.

The sun beat hard upon the backs of Victoria East High School marching band students Thursday morning.

The three senior drum majors - Willord Simmons, Alan Olmos and Lauren Hurta - walked the marching line and inspected each marcher's posture and instrument.

"We're thankful for the breeze," Alan, 17, said. "Everyone has actually been pretty good today."

Temperatures reached a high of 97 degrees Thursday, according to The Weather Channel.

On the eve of August, the Titan marching band had gathered in the Victoria East parking lot for its first official day of band camp - almost a month before the first day of school Aug. 25.

The band's first public performance will be Aug. 16 at Memorial Stadium at the high school's annual Unleash the Titans ceremony.

"The freshmen have really caught on quick," said Lauren, 17. "This year's show is going to be awesome; we're going with an African theme."

Of the 120 students registered for band, Willord, 17, said at first he was disheartened to see fewer freshmen in band than in years past.

"But it's not about quantity, it's about quality," said Willord, with a smile beneath his shades.

The rules in band camp are tough but are meant to make the students better performers, said Carlos Gonzalez, assistant band director.

If a student forgets his or her water bottle or shows up late, then the student will have to either run laps or do pushups depending on his physical condition.

"Oftentimes, it'll be something that is going to help them physically," Gonzalez said. "And it's also a reminder for them to not do it again."

Members of the Titan marching band booster club are stationed close by with refreshments, Gonzalez said.

"Our kids are the best," Gonzalez said. "Business leaders in the community like to employ band students because they're reliable and have strong leadership skills."

As the metallic surface of a sousaphone shined brightly in the sun, wrapped around a student's shoulders, head band director David Edge paced the lines, coaching students through a microphone headset and to the beat of a cowbell.

Students pointed their toes and dropped to the ground for a set of push-ups each time their steps landed too far from the white parking lot lines.

"One band, one sound," Willord said.



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