Local high school bands march through the summer heat


High school bands all over the county are taking on the summer sun to prepare for the upcoming marching and football season.

Many band camps have begun summer practice and plan to continue with rehearsals until the start of school on Aug. 19. The weather and the sun are the main concerns.

Shelby County High School band director Tom Grigsby said since the band practices on a grass practice field when it rains they have to wait for it to dry before they can continue working. He also said they have to take constant water breaks due to the heat.

“This week is too cool to be band camp,” Grigsby said. “Usually it’s around 100 degrees.”

The 116 members of the SCHS marching band have practiced every day since July 22 beginning at 8 a.m. Grigsby said they break at noon and come back and practice from 5-8 p.m.

“We split the day in half,” he said. “It gives the students a chance to cool down and rest.”

Throughout the two weeks the band members learn marching fundamentals, the music and steps for the bands half time show, Grigsby said.

SCHS drum majors, Elizabeth Stancil and Jordan Price said their main objective is to run the band in the place of Grigsby and Assistant Band Director Nathan Prather.

Price is a rising senior and “hopes this will be the best year yet” for her high school band career.

Pelham High School Tower of Power Marching Band recently completed its first week of full band camp said Jeff Burnside, PHS band director.

The band practices from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. and spends the morning on a newly resurfaced parking lot at the high school before breaking for lunch.

“The darker it is, the hotter it is,” Burnside said. “That parking lot is pitch black.”

He said they run the drills and steps in the morning before it gets too hot and then focus on music in late afternoon in the band room.

Rising sophomore Elizabeth Thompson said the camp is “very, very hot” but worth the effort.

“The rest of the marching season is one of the best times of the year,” Thompson said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything.”