Natchez High freshmen take on band practice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2000

Freshmen band members are enduring a boot camp of sorts as they practice for their new roles in Natchez High’s growing marching band.

Upperclass band leaders are taking time this week to train the rising-freshman band members – 50 in all- in the basics of marching.

&uot;It’s growing extremely well. I’m excited about it,&uot; said Charles Thompson, a senior and trumpet section leader.

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The band has grown from 140 members in 1999-2000 to nearly 180 this year, said Larry Buckley, band director.

The freshmen practiced Thursday and today with practice for the entire band beginning next week. Some of the band members also attended band camp this summer or have been taking part in extra practices in recent weeks. During the school year, the students will practice after school three days a week in addition to taking a class in band.

On Thursday, the band’s section leaders taught the freshman such things as uniformity of step and how to make turns.

Thompson said the freshman are learning quickly. &uot;They stay on their toes,&uot; he said.

Band directors think the increase in the participation of freshman is due to the emphasis on band at the elementary level. Students can start band in the fifth-grade and work with the same band directors through high school.

Sheena Bland, a ninth-grade trumpet player, looks forward to being part of a large band this fall. &uot;(It) makes it look like a whole lot of people are interested in band,&uot; she said.

The music should sound better and louder from the football field, she said.

Thompson, who sits first chair in the band’s trumpet section, spent Thursday training ninth-grade trumpet players, including Bland.

&uot;All these freshmen coming in with these great attitudes – it’s just fabulous,&uot; Thompson said.

The Natchez-Adams School Board has already approved the purchase of more uniforms for the new band members.

If the band continues to grow as expected, it should have close to 200 members by fall 2002, Buckley said.

The band is under the direction of Larry Buckley, Dale Young, Omar Cavazos, Clarence Gibson, Lee Moyer, Alicia Havard and William Mitchell.