Local high school marching bands recently began preparing for the fall season via the traditional “band camp” week.

The bands at Bridgman and River Valley gathered to begin learning the drills and music July 26-30, while New Buffalo band camp was held Aug. 2-6.

All ended with a Friday show for parents.

BRIDGMAN

Director Cliff Reppart said the 2021 Spirit of Bridgman Marching Band Camp returned to Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer (although with no overnight stays) after a 2020 band camp week held for three days at the school.

“Our show this year is ‘In A Dream,’ and the tunes we’re playing are ‘Pure Imagination,’ (from Willy Wonka), ‘Teenage Dream by Katie Perry, ‘I Dreamed a Dream,’ and we’re ending with ‘Dream On’ by Aerosmith.”

The 2021 Spirit of Bridgman Marching Band Drum Majors are senior Ellie Kroeze and junior Elise Schmaltz.

Report said there are about 74 students in the band – 25 percent of the school population with seniors and freshman the biggest groups.

“We have a big, huge full sound right now at camp already,” he said midway through the week. “It’s really enjoyable to hear these kids together and making music and doing something creative together.”

Reppart said the Spirit of Bridgman Marching Band is slated to participate in four competitions and football pre-game and half-time shows this fall.

NEW BUFFALO

The New Buffalo High School Marching Band spent band camp week learning its 2021 Superheroes show, which begins with the “Captain America” theme, then goes to “Spiderman,” “Batman” and “Superman.”

At one point in the show a surprise villain will make an appearance during the show’s scatter drill.

Chris Beushausen (the New Buffalo Elementary Music Teacher) is directing the 2021 New Buffalo High School Marching Band’s fall season with Christina Baumann on maternity leave.

She said the 40-member band’s drum majors are seniors Zoe Price and Olivia Schroeder.

Price conducts the first two tunes, and then they switch and Schroeder takes the stand to lead the way for the second half of the Superheroes show.

During the Aug. 6 show for parents, Beushausen said Baumann “had her baby about a week and a half ago.”

She said the band has been hard at work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day during the week.

“These kids, I cannot believe all the things they have to do,” Beushausen said while introducing the band on Aug. 6. “They have to learn how to play their instrument correctly, make the tone quality, play correct pitches, rhythms, articulations and expression – all of these things while figuring out how to march correctly, the roll set, backwards marching, there’s all these techniques they have to learn from their feet and with their bodies. Marching band is really, really hard. So what you’re seeing tonight is a bunch of really hard work all these kids have put in and I’m super proud of them.”

RIVER VALLEY

Director Kirsten Pagel said the River Valley High School Marching Band will present a 2021 show “Fiesta del Fuego” featuring “Macarena” (a Spanish bullfighting song, not the cruise ship dance tune), “Land of Make Believe,” and “Aztec Fire.”

Pagel said over half of the 26 band members are freshmen and sophomores, with six seniors including Drum Major Ava Holub.

“They are such a fun group of kids,” she said. “They are so energetic, learning very quickly.”

During the July 30 week-ending show at the RV football field, Pagel said the band “really picked up their game and learned a lot this week.”

The New Buffalo and River Valley marching bands will be seeing a lot of each other on home football nights during the 2021 season since the Red Arrow Raiders football team is a co-op between the two districts.

Beushausen said the bands will combine for some “stand jams” and other performances before doing their own field shows, adding that when games are played in New Buffalo the Bison band will play at half-time with RV performing before kick-off. That order will be reversed when the game takes place at River Valley.

“It’s going to be really cool. We’re going to get to collaborate as two bands and have a double-size band in the stands,” Pagel said.

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