The Leesville Road High School Band Program held its fifteenth annual band camp at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina this past summer. The camp runs for a week every year to allow Mr. Albert, the fine arts chair, and the Symphonic Band to train and prepare its members for marching and competitions for the coming school year.
Students spend the majority of the day marching at planning for the upcoming season. The camp offers them a chance to learn the drill for the year and work out any problem in the music.
Luke Dyer, junior trombonist, believed that he learned much from the program. “It’s a magical experience, and a whole new world for about $200 to $300. It looks good, sounds good, and makes common sense. We would probably never do as [well] as we do in football games and other competitions if it weren’t for this.”
Band camp seemed like boot camp for Dyer. Every day, he had to follow a demanding schedule.
“We get up, eat breakfast. We also have to make beds; that’s an essential part, but it’s between getting up and eating breakfast. [We eat] eggs for breakfast, but no, the eggs were terrible. After that it’s our first drill; it’s an hour and a half of marching. Then it’s inside rehearsal until lunch. For lunch we usually have fried stuff like chicken nuggets. Then we have rehearsal inside in the gym. Then it’s our second drill of marching.”
The students ate dinner in the evening and had some free time to themselves. Even into the night, though, they continued to study more about marching.
“We have free time until supper, but supper is like two hours so free time is really two hours. For our night life, we watch the little dots that move around and show us how we’re supposed to perform the show. The first chair trumpet player plays taps, and then we go to bed.”
The camp also features an annual tradition of welcoming new members of the Symphonic Band. Robert Greneki, junior trombonist, especially likes to make sure the new members, commonly known as “fraps” in the camp, follow the yearly custom. “We make the fraps dress up as the opposite sex. It’s hilarious to watch them march around like that.”
Lieutenant Daniel Cheng, a senior, has participated in the band camp for two years now. “It’s really funny. We just have a fun time for a week. It gives me a good chance to relax and relieve any stress that I have.”
Overall, Cheng thought his past two experiences at band camp helped him much to become a better individual. “In the end we march in a circle and learn a show and get it in. I’ll admit that over fifty percent of what we do learn has been effective. It definitely helped my life a lot.”