For most high school bands, preparing music for a national competition may be stressful and hectic, but this is not the case for Leesville’s band. After winning every national band competition they attended for the past 17 years, Leesville’s well-seasoned band takes a different approach in preparation for their trip to Orlando this year.
David Albert, Leesville’s band director, said, “In terms of repertoire, it’s similar to what we played in the state festival, so, musically, we are prepared.”
In class, the band works to perfect their musical techniques and practices their pieces for the trip on April 24-28. “We practice before school at 6:45 every morning but we also put in a lot of individual practice,” said Teddy Elshoff, senior.
Despite a turbulent year for the band, their expectations for the competition go far beyond winning. “We really just want to have one of our best performances ever,” said Elshoff. “The main thing is to perform better at each years’ competition.”
“I want them to play their very finest,” said Albert. “I’ve never worried about competition, it’s not why we compete. I really like for people [across the country] to hear the Leesville band.”
Albert adds that the Leesville band represents the state of North Carolina at many of their competitions. Due to the reputation Leesville’s band created for itself, many band members are offered opportunities to play in collegiate bands. “[These trips] really open up some [doors] for our students” said Albert.
This year’s venue will be a concert stage in Disney, combining what Albert called “a high quality festival with fun.” Each year, the seniors in band choose the festival and destination they wish to travel to and compete in. Leesville’s band has left their mark all over the Northern Hemisphere by performing in places like Toronto, Miami, Philadelphia and even Nassau, Bahamas.
The band will be competing at the same festival and traveling with Leesville’s top chorus, Capital Pride, a first for the fine arts department. “I’m very excited to travel my friend Mrs. Covington [and Capital Pride], she’s a dear friend I’ve worked with for years,” said Albert.