Commonwealth Journal

Local News

August 24, 2013

Prep band competition season in full swing

Somerset — While all the local high school football teams readied themselves for their first action of the season this weekend, there’s another subset of students preparing to take the field of competition.

Think woodwinds and brass, not shoulder pads and helmets.

Pulaski County High School and Southwestern High School are preparing for their first marching band contests of the season, and both are hoping that their progress throughout the next few months will result in a crescendo of success at State Finals.

Every year, the band members spend myriad hours under the hot summer sun preparing for their chosen brand of school-against-school competition — just like any other team that plays with a ball. Much like a football lineman who must be mindful of perfect three-point stance along with keeping up the ferocity needed to go hit someone and make a play, band members must balance a focus on flawless technique — with both their instruments and their feet — with the passion inherent to the art of music.

And like any other team activity, it brings students closer together as they all strive for a common goal — winning.

“The best part for me personally ... is the personal relationships we have created with one another over the years,’ said Emily Crockett, who plays clarinet in Southwestern’s band. “We are family and I know that all those people have my back on and off the field.”

Southwestern’s program is relatively young — they’ve only been marching competitively for about eight years. Led by former Pulaski County High School band director Dan Carpenter, the group finished in the state quarterfinals last year, continuing on toward the goal of building a successful tradition.

“I thought we did very well. We scored very competitively with people who have had a marching band a heck of a lot longer than we have,” said Carpenter, who takes his students to Hazard High School September 14 for their first contest of this season. “We took the band to Georgia and held out own with some of the big bands down there.”

This year’s group is about 64 members strong — but it’s not the size that counts the most, but rather the production. Still, considering Southwestern’s first competitive show had only 32 people in it, that shows the growth the program has experiences, and Carpenter said the quality has gone up along with it.

“I get several (students) every year that go off for school as music majors,” he said of the dedication by the students to their art. “You don’t just do that kind of stuff unless you really love it.”

This year’s on-field program is called “Light,” and Carpenter describes it as a “different kind of show (with) different kinds of movements.” The music was composed by a staff member of the Cavaliers drum and bugle corps — essentially “the pros” for competitive marchers — so it exposes the youth to what the corps are doing as more seasoned musicians, and it’s fairly complex, esoteric fare.

“There’s lots of blocks of color in the sound,” said Carpenter. “Not really a lot of well-defined melodic lines. You’re not going to watch the show and go off whistling the thing. ... It starts off fast-paced and has a slow-down ballad section in the middle, and ends on another fast-paced ride.”

Southwestern’s sibling institution Pulaski County High School has fielded a competitive show for much longer, and has its eyes on the biggest of prizes. Now under the direction of Scott Sexton, in his sixth year at the helm, the Marching Maroons had a “disappointing finish” last year at regionals, coming in ninth ... while eight bands advanced to the state semi-finals. Of course, only a little over a point made up the difference, and there was about a point-and-a-half between ninth and sixth places, so Sexton knows that Pulaski could have very easily been in the mix.

“After going to semi-finals the two previous years, our kids are hungry to make it back this year, and hopefully we can improve on our standing there,” said Sexton. “I think this group definitely could. It’s a very self-motivated group. Probably more so than any other group we’ve ever had.”

The band has a 70-member roster this year, with more experience than usual — with high school enrollment up, Sexton said he’s recruited less from the middle school ranks than ever before, giving those younger students a chance to grow more musically before playing with the varsity, so to speak. However, the band has only seven seniors, meaning this year’s group could lay the foundation for sustained success next year.

“I feel like this year we have some new folks on staff from the design standpoint, a new drill writer, a great support staff,” said Sexton. “(Former Somerset High School director) Kevin Holmes worked with us during camp. Several other local folks came in and worked with us. All in all, this group has the potential to do very well.”

They’ll get tested soon. The band attends a contest today in Adair County — home of one of the state’s perennially strongest bands — that serves as a preseason exhibition (kind of like UK’s first couple of basketball games each season — the ones that don’t county) to test themselves before going to their first contest at Montgomery County on September 14.

The theme of the show is “Time of your Life” and is based on a mix of serious and popular music — Antonin Dvorák’s “New World Symphony,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” and Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Themes from the various pieces of music are referenced throughout, and there is some original material in the mix as well.

There’s also a heavy dramatic element, as the show tells the story of an elderly woman looking through a photo album, represented by a series of six large backdrops that represent pages of the book.

“As she gets to that point in her life (whichever it is), they’re going to be revealed,” said Sexton. “Then she comes down and relives different moments of her life. The ballad is the whole self-discovery (story), leaving home for the first time, meeting the love of your life.”

The show charts the woman’s journey through time — getting married, seeing her husband go off to war, the trials of adulthood, all represented both by actors and through the drill and music.

“The question posed to the audience is, have you spent your time in the best way that you could?” noted Sexton.

For the students at both Pulaski and Southwestern, the past summer camp and this fall’s competitive season is proof that they are indeed spending their time in perfect harmony with their passion for music.

“I find being in band rewarding because we put all these small and very meticulous things together and create something so beautiful,” said Crockett, “and it’s different every single time.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Mayor Girdler.jpg Bill puts freeze on occupational tax funds

    An addition to the late-passed Kentucky Transportation Cabinet budget contains an Easter egg of sorts that could have a substantial impact on Pulaski County — although Somerset’s mayor is downplaying it.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brenzel and LCRH sign cmyk.jpg Brenzel steps down as LCRH CEO

    Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH) has announced that CEO Mark Brenzel has decided to step down from the top leadership position.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • recycling.ht.jpg Science Hill elementary students promote recycling

    For one group of Science Hill Independent students, taking out the trash isn’t something they avoid.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • carrie dixon-wiese.jpg Local housing facility subject of $349,000 lawsuit

    A local housing facility is the subject of a lawsuit in U.S. Eastern District Court, with several major entities named as defendants — though the Somerset city attorney notes that’s actually more for their protection.
    The defendants listed included the City of Somerset, Somerset Independent Board of Education, and Pulaski County government, as well as the company Somerset East Mt. Vernon Associates, Ltd.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Last rescue adopted pic.jpg Last of dogs rescued from Nancy kennel is adopted

    The last of 27 dogs housed at a Louisville animal rescue center after they were taken from a western Pulaski County puppy mill in a January raid has found a permanent home.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pulaski gets small share of road money

    Some $200 million worth of road-building projects in Pulaski County during the past decade likely is the reason this county got only a tiny share in the two-year road plan hammered out by the General Assembly during the session that adjourned late Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • LaDonna Hurd.jpg Local firefighter dies from injuries suffered in fall at skating rink

    The community’s move to rally around a local volunteer firefighter, nurse, and single mother injured while roller skating has taken on a more tragic note.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAKE-FISHING FOTO.JPG Rising lake levels are improving area fishing conditions

    The rising level of Lake Cumberland is covering banks that have been bare for seven years and increasing habitat for game fish such as bass, bluegill and crappie.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebenstein, Jacob.jpg Local man receives 12 1/2 years in DUI death of teen

    An entire courtroom on Thursday was moved to tears by parents who spoke of the loss of their 19-year-old son during a sentencing for the man who pleaded guilty in his death.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • City agencies dealing with gas leak

    From the Somerset Police Department:

    If you use East University Drive between KY 1247 and KY 39 or live in the area, your drive may be affected by a gas pipeline leak.

     

    April 17, 2014

News Live
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks