‘Leave a legacy:’ HHS band wraps up camp in preparation for 2018-19 school year

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–More than 230 Helena High School students will soon take the field as proud members of the 2018-19 Helena High School Marching Band but before that happens, all the hard work and preparation takes place months prior at band camp where choreography and songs are perfected.

Tuesday, July 31, marked the final day of band camp as the students have nearly perfected the halftime field show dubbed “Southern Spectacular” as parents and friends came out to catch a glimpse of what will be seen on Friday nights this fall.

Through hot, humid weather and while also sacrificing summer vacation time, these band members will soon wow fans with a field show that has plenty of southern flair.

“We had a couple of really, really good weeks of band camp and we’ve been blessed by mother nature because it hasn’t been as hot as this on most days,” HHS band director Jeff Burnside said. “They have worked very hard and the show is still a work in progress meaning that there’s some things that aren’t quite perfected yet. There will be some things we will add.”

The “Southern Spectacular” field show will feature classics such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “My Home’s in Alabama.”

Senior drum majors Mary Margaret Getts, Sadie Crawford and Kaitlyn Suttles all shared why the Helena High School Marching Band means so much to them and the journey they’ve taken the past four years through the program.

“We were the originals and we’ve been here since the school opened,” Getts said. “It’s good because we’ve seen the band develop from where it started to where it is now so it’s been a good growing experience. We’ve seen many bonds built and friendships that we have will last a lifetime through band.”

“We were able to set all the traditions and it’s been cool to see how much the band has grown in the past five years because I think the first year we were at around 170 and now we’re over 230 members,” Crawford added.

For Suttles, she said it’s a good feeling knowing all three drum majors will leave behind a legacy at Helena.

“It’s nice to know that when you leave you will have a legacy you leave behind and especially since the three of us have been here since the school opened,” Suttles said. “We know we’ll leave and we’ve left our mark on the program.”

As for having Burnside as the band director, all three drum majors said he has been an amazing leader for the program and positively affected each of them.

“He’s a great leader and practically a best friend because he’s always there for you and he always has the words to help you grow,” Getts said. “He’s always pushing us to do better and work harder than you were the time before or the day before.”

The Helena High School Marching Band will perform the 2018-19 field show in its entirety for the public on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. at Husky Stadium.

The Helena High School varsity football team will open the season on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. on the road against McAdory.

To view or purchase pictures of Helena’s band camp, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.