Football players aren’t the only students sweating in the summer heat getting ready for the Friday night lights of another high school football season.
Like many of their counterparts around the state, members of the Harlan County High School band have been busy the last three weeks working to perfect their sounds and their moves as they prepare for the marching season, which includes both football games and band competitions.
“It’s really important, because if they don’t learn the show and learn it well we don’t look good at football games or competitions,” Harlan County High School band director Mike Shepherd said. “We try to get the band ready for the competitions for the school year. We’re out learning a show. We try to get as close to perfect as possible.”
Jessica Stewart, the senior field commander for the HCHS band who is in her fifth year with the group, says camp is crucial to the band’s success.”
“It’s very important,” she said. “It build character and helps you get prepared for the season. It helps you learn the music and our show. It’s gone better than it has in the past.”
Kayla Hammonds, also a senior in her fifth year with the band, agreed.
“This helps us get the basics down and teach the rookies how to march,” she said. “It is going very well. This is the best group I’ve seen since I’ve been here. They are so ready to work and determined to get the show on the field. I love it. It’s so awesome.”
The first of the three weeks of HCHS band camp is rookie camp, for the new members of the band from the eight elementary schools around the county.
“We go from 9 to 12 and work basically on marching fundamentals,” Shepherd said. “The next two weeks are our full band camp, when we start working on the show.”
Shepherd said this year’s band, which includes 33 members, is off to a good start in camp and has him looking forward to the competitions to come.
“The kids are really working hard and paying attention. It’s been pleasant,” Shepherd said.
The Harlan County band will perform for the first time at Coal Miners Stadium in the Black Bears’ home opener on Aug. 29 against Clay County.