Treasured days: OMHS band prepares for season during band camp

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – The second week of band camp is in full swing for Oak Mountain High School’s Spirit of Cahaba as the band is currently preparing this year’s show, entitled “Treasured: Songs of Fortune and Glory.”

The OMHS Spirit of Cahaba began its band camp on July 17, and has since been working to prepare for the upcoming season of Friday night lights and competitions.

“We’re in the second week of band camp,” Director of Bands Kevin Ownby said. “The kids are working really hard and doing a great job. We’re really proud of where we are at this point.”

Members of the band are hard at work learning their “sets” and appointed places in the show as well as practicing the accompanying music.

“Band camp has been hot, as always, but we’ve got a lot of plans in place to give the kids relief from the heat,” Associate Director of Bands Travis Bender said. “They’re handling it in stride and doing a great job as always.”

This year, the Spirit of Cahaba has 275 members in its ensemble with 90 of those students being rookies this year. Bender said the rookies begin their training back in the Spring so that they can begin practicing their techniques before joining the full ensemble during band camp in July.

Bender said that year’s show, “Treasured: Songs of Fortune and Glory” features music from “Indiana Jones,” “The Mandalorian,” the video game “Uncharted” and “National Treasure.”

Bender also spoke on the visual component of this year’s show.

“We are a very old-school core style band,” he said. “I think it’s something that makes us unique in the Birmingham area. We still form pictures with our marching band. So, you’ll see we form a compass on the field with the entire marching band, we do a lock and key (and) the Mandalorian helmet. We do a treasure map—all sorts of stuff.”

Each of the visual images created by the band are called “icon sets,” and this year’s show features seven of them.

Bender spoke on band culture at OMHS and the experience it provides students.

“The culture for band at Oak Mountain is fantastic,” he said. “The student body has always been supportive of our band program, as is the entire community.”

According to Bender, one in every six students at OMHS is involved in the marching band.

“Band is alive and well and thriving here,” he said. “I think an arts outlet for kids is just so incredibly important because it’s a creative activity—a right-brain activity. So much of what we do in the walls in a school is very analytical left-brain thinking so this is a great creative outlet for these kids. It’s a great physical activity for these kids too and, I’m just thrilled so many of them are participating this year.”

Ownby shared his thoughts on the upcoming season for The Spirit of Cahaba.

“We’re looking forward to a great season supporting our Eagles,” he said. “The band is at its peak as far as numbers, and we’re looking forward to being there and being loud and supporting our team.”