A Magical Experience

A Magical Experience

Those who think sports is the most serious commitment students make while in high school have never been involved in band. Not to discount sports, there is a huge time and monetary commitment, but at least the season ends. For band members, it never ends.

“Because we had an early start to school, we had an early start to band camp in July this summer,” said Amy Woody, Director of Bands at Guyer High School. “We also had a camp in June where we rehearsed nothing but music.”

Right now it’s marching season. Students have to learn spirit songs to play during games, including pep tunes, Silveradoes (drill team) music, drum line cadences, Star Spangled Banner and other songs they play on a regular basis throughout the year. Then it’s a whole new world of marching music, based on their performance at the half time shows as well as the more detailed performance for competitions. The day I went to interview Woody, she was getting ready to take a group to play at Oakmont Country Club for the Denton ISD Luncheon for the Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce.

“We have to be on call at all times,” said Woody. “Our biggest venue is the football game where everyone sees us but the students are working all year long.”

Their marching show is based on the Marvelous Magic of Mr. Mysterical draped in 1920s vaudeville style red and gold and filled with magic and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The staff got together as early as February to start throwing out ideas for this season. That’s how long it takes to put together a show of this caliber.

“It’s not overly prop-oriented,” explained Woody. “But there are lots of tricks going on.”

It includes one student as the magician and another as the assistant. Another student disappears in a box and reappears on the other side of the field. There is the act of sawing someone in half as well as impaling someone with swords in a box. All the while the marching band is moving around the field in rapid, fluid movements to the music.

Woody said it was important to find that delicate balance between audience appeal and something educational for the students. She went on to say that it’s best for everyone when the audience is drawn in but also that the kids enjoy it.

“We try to find something unique that appeals to everyone,” said Woody. “Last year it was classical music similar to Disney’s Fantasia, and 2 years ago the show featured the music from the Destiny video game soundtrack.”

What impresses her the most, however, is the students’ dedication to the season.

“The thing those kids are creating every Friday night takes hours upon hours of practice,” said Woody. “The potential they have is endless; we don’t give kids a lot of credit for what they can do. They supersede our activities every day.”

Woody talked about how much the kids learn from band which includes both teamwork and leadership. In band, they are taught perseverance through trials, meaning that they can fail there safely and learn from it before it becomes a more “real world” problem for them. There are also such a variety of kids in band, it teaches them to work with a varied group of people.

“We have super competitive and super non-competitive students and they all feel like a team,” said Woody. “I don’t know of another organization that draws on that medium.”

Following marching season the band moves swiftly into concert season, ensemble, solos and more. There are also various groups attached to band including color guard, drum lines and rifles, both during marching and winter season. They transition through their seasons without a break learning dedication, determination, teamwork, endurance, leadership and how to win or lose gracefully.

“I’m a little biased because I love it and I think it’s an awesome thing for these kids to be involved in,” said Woody. “The long term effects are just invaluable.”

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