Normally high school band camp week is a test of endurance in the face of withering summer heat.
Not so for the student musicians from Bridgman, New Buffalo and River Valley who practiced their 2019 fall shows on the pleasant and surprisingly cool week of July 29-Aug. 2.
The following are reports from each band’s week and the shows they will be performing once football season arrives (home openers are Sept. 6 for River Valley and Bridgman, and Sept. 13 for New Buffalo).
The 2019 New Buffalo High School Marching Band show is “Disney Through the Ages” — an appropriate choice for a band set to visit Walt Disney World during Thanksgiving Break (and to participate in a Magic Kingdom parade on Thanksgiving Day).
Band Teacher Christina Baumann said the show features “a lot of different Disney songs that you might recognize and put them all in chronological order.”
The 53-member band (led by Senior Drum Major Kira Arvanitis) presented the entire show Friday afternoon on the football field — and there were indeed many Disney favorites played in three sets for those who filled the stands.
The first set consisted of “The Mickey Mouse March,” “Steamboat Willie” (with a piccolo solo by Haley Feeback), “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Never Smile at a Crocodile” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Set two selections were: “Kiss the Girl,” “Under Sea,” “Be Our Guest” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
The third set was composed of music from “Up” featuring a trumpet duet by Aiden White and Henry Johnson, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “You’re Welcome.”
The Spirit of Bridgman Marching Band’s 2019 show is “Into the Darkness.”
“We’re playing ‘Toccata in Fugue,’ ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ ‘Sounds of Silence’ and were ending with ‘Phantom of the Opera’ (which includes a special ending),” said Band Instructor Cliff Reppart.
There are more than 60 student musicians in the the band. Drum Majors are senior Rachel Scharnowske and junior Yvonne Carranza.
Reppart said the biggest group are the sophomores (more than a third of the total) while nine seniors provide leadership.
“This has been a phenomenal camp. We’ve showed up to camp more prepared in terms of marching and music than any other year that I’ve been teaching. I’m going into my 13th year. I am just blown away by the progress this week. We sound like we normally do mid-season,” Reppart said.
It’s the Spirit of Bridgman Band’s 10th year spending the entire week (including evenings) at Tower Hill Camp in Sawyer. Reppart said a skit night Wednesday and senior night around a bonfire at the beach on Thursday evening were highlights of this year’s camp.
Nobody could complain about the weather — with highs in the mid 70s and just some rain on the first day.
“This is perfect marching weather,” Reppart said.
The River Valley High School Marching Band will perform “A Tribute to Queen” this fall.
Band/Choir Teacher Kirsten Pagel said the show will include “We Will Rock You,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
“It’s going to be a really fun, energetic intense, wonderful show,” she said.
The 34-member band is led by senior Drum Major Haley York and includes what Pagel called “a small but mighty freshman class” and strong leadership from seniors.
“They’ve been working hard all week,” she said, adding that the group had a few rehearsals the week before band camp.
After working on the show from 8 to 5 every day, the band performed its Tribute to Queen late Friday afternoon on the football field.