To preparing for the upcoming 2021 season, members of the Hayes High School Marching Band have spent the past week honing their skills at Band Camp.
Band Director Andy Doherty said students have been practicing from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day this week, and they have finished learning the first movement of their upcoming show, “Villains.” He added the band is ahead of schedule, and members are now working on the second movement.
Doherty said last month that he was worried going into the season because two classes of the band have no experience learning a show since the band was not able to compete last year due to the pandemic, but he said the freshmen and sophomores have risen to the challenge.
“If I didn’t know that there were (two inexperienced classes), I’d have no idea,” Doherty said. “Their attitudes, work ethic, and just how quickly they’re learning and growing … it just feels like a regular year.”
Doherty added the band will practice three days next week and then will begin regular practices four days a week after the school year starts.
Drum majors and seniors Elaina Bashline and Mackenzie Kunkel said Band Camp has gone well.
“It’s a different feel than it is when you’re marching,” Bashline said. “Still a fun experience, just a lot of work.”
Bashline said she’s excited for competitions and having the freshman and sophomores experience “leaving it all on the field.”
Kunkel said camp has been a great way for students to get to bond with each other after spending a year separated.
“I think everyone has been enjoying it so much,” she said. “This year I feel like we are so much closer than last year. We are spending weeks together. (The band is) positive and supportive of each other. They have so much energy … because they love it and it’s awesome to see.”
Stephen Haase, a junior who plays bass clarinet, said camp has been tough, but the band has overcome it.
“It’s tiring but worth it,” Haase said. “Collective suffering is great for bonding.”
Danica Davelli, a junior and flute section leader, echoed Doherty’s sentiments, adding she was a little worried going into band camp.
“As a section leader, I was definitely stressed out,” Davelli said. “It was messy at first but seeing how far it’s come and how much better freshmen and sophomores have come as musicians is incredible. We’re all working towards a common goal. It’s all so worth it.”
Gavin Schooley, a sophomore who plays baritone, said he is confident about the season after Band Camp even if it’s his first year learning a show.
“As hard as it can get and as much pain you can be in, it’s so worth it when you finally get to play the awesome parts while moving and marching,” he said.
Likewise, trumpet player and freshman Padraig Pipher said he’s had a positive experience at Band Camp.
“It’s been great, to be honest,” he said. “It’s been really fun. I got to meet a whole bunch of new people. For it being my first year, I’ve made a whole bunch of friends. Nobody really gets picked on at all. It’s just a whole bunch of fun for everybody.”
Woodwind Captain and clarinet player Katie Hejmanowski said this year’s camp felt like it was back to normal.
“As someone whose done this for two years before (the pandemic), it feels like it hasn’t changed at all,” Hejmanowski said. We took (time) off, and we’re just right back in the swing of it, which is an incredible reflection of the freshmen and sophomores.”
Hejmanowski praised the work ethic of the inexperienced students and said camp has been a great learning experience for the band.
“They’ve really put their backs into it,” she said. “They’ve learned fast. I don’t remember learning things that fast. They pick up on things so well. (The band is) beyond where I thought we would be.”
Band Camp concludes today with a performance of the show for families of band members.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.