9 things you might not know about summer band camp

Members attend three weeks of practice before school even begins

The summer is winding down and Carroll ISD students are preparing to go back to school tomorrow. However, marching band members are one step ahead of the game. The band students have already been parking their cars in the student parking lots and staying on campus for several hours a day for the past month, attending something they refer to as “band camp”. The camp is intended to solidify members’ marching techniques while they begin to learn their contest show for the fall. Here are 9 things you might not know about summer band camp. 

1. The program is making more progress this year than ever before, thanks to a new marching band app for mobile devices.

“My favorite memory from this season was the relief I felt in knowing that we had all of our show music learned and a fourth of the drill—the visual component of the show—learned before the school year even started. We’re being really effective this year with the help of an app called Ultimate Drill Book that tells us where our dots are on the field in regards to the overall form and provides an animated video for each marcher about what paths they should take when marching. We used to only be told what spot on the field to go to and how many counts we had to get there by a paper sheet, but now we have the ability to see what the entire band should look like, which makes things a lot easier.” -Cristina Petescia, 12

2.  The members’ only audience is themselves for a month.

“People think band camp is like Drumline or American Pie, but band kids are out for three to four weeks in the heat, putting in eight hours a day without an audience. When we do have an audience later in the season at games and competitions, it really pays off to receive appreciation.” -Peyton Clark, 12

3. Band kids know how to make hard work rewarding.

“Drumline does this thing called tracking, which is basically marching in step while playing exercises or show music to build marching stamina. This season, we got to track to Starbucks from the high school campus and ordered drinks once we got there. It really gave us the incentive to push ourselves more than we ever have before, because marching to a coffee shop is a much longer process than marching along a football field.” -Brady Black, 12

4. Band camp lasts longer than a normal school day.

“The schedule is rough at first. Practice typically started at 7:30 a.m. and it was necessary to get there a few minutes early to prepare, so we did have to wake up fairly early. Practices also had an afternoon session indoors, so it was a long day. However, you get used to it pretty quickly and you learn to put in a lot of hard work to get the result you want to achieve.” -Paige Kissane, 9

5. The process is always changing.

“Being a junior in marching band means that I should know the process. I understand how learning each chart, or spot I march to, works. I know how to effectively memorize my music. However, every year has its changes. This year, we have a new band director who has made some changes to the way we rehearse and practice. These changes aren’t bad, but they are just a little different than what upperclassmen are used to from our previous years in the band program. As I have spent more time in the program, it has become easier to make changes and learn to trust the process because I know that each year gets easier and better than the one before.” -Olivia Lamont, 11

6. Members get used to the Texas summer temperatures quickly.

“After practicing outside each day for hours in the heat, you inevitably get used to it. Comparing a hot day to summer band always makes it feel less hot to me.” -Alex Choi, 12

7. Students spend a lot of time constructing their own props.

“Personally, I spend a lot of time outside of band practice doing band-related activities, such as prop building for the marching show. I would have to say that I have logged about seventy-five hours constructing props this season. We’ve constructed bleachers, painted everything, and helped move all of it. I love it because there are so many memories and inside jokes that come with building and painting props constantly.” -Henry Thompson, 11

8. Some things that may seem negative to others are positives for the band members.

“We might not win as many awards or have as much free time as other sports. We work during the summer, after school every day, and on weekends. We have strict rules and procedures that everyone must follow. Even though this seems so negative to some people, it is really the only way to become the family that we are. I have never been involved in anything like the Dragon Band. Everyone cares for each other and looks out for each other. Everyone is positive and uplifting. Everyone is polite and respectful to authorities and other performers. These characteristics are not easily found in any other organization. We are a true family. The Dragon Band is one of the best programs I have ever had the pleasure of being involved in.” -Taryn Daily, 10

9. These three weeks build memories that will last a lifetime.

“Summer band is the only place where you can enjoy spending hours in the Texas heat because of all the relationships you build that create experiences you will never forget.” -Jackson Schwedler, 12