Appreciation for local bands
While at a high school football game last month, I had the question posed to me: Can you imagine what it’s like to have a game without the band?
It’s an interesting question. Oftentimes I talk about the football teams and how we should support them. Something that is sometimes lost in the shuffle, and taken for granted, are the bands. Though they aren’t out there lighting up the scoreboards, the band kids put in just as much work as the athletes. They may not be pumping iron and hitting the weight room, but being in a marching band is hard work. Though I wasn’t personally in band in high school, I know the sacrifice that is required, having dated a band geek (I mean that in the most endearing way possible). I know what it’s like for the parents to go to distant areas to see performances and the time that is required to make a good performance great.
North Augusta is lucky to have two great band directors at the highest level – Chuck Deen at North Augusta High School and Chris Martinez at Fox Creek High School. Both are excellent at what they do, are passionate about their crafts and play to their student’s strengths.
The Jacket Regiment, in case you haven’t heard, has had a record-setting year. At a competition toward the end of September, the band brought home the best hornline, best color guard, best percussion, best drum major, high overall music, 5A, clinic and wacky band director awards. That’s a ton of hardware for an entire year – much less a single competition.
At the Mustang Classic, the Jacket Regiment brought home the best percussion and AAAA awards. They followed that up with best drum major 7A, best color guard 7A and 3rd place 7A at the James F. Byrnes Tournament of Bands. Most recently the regiment took honors in high percussion, high color guard, high drum major, high music, first place on 4A and overall grand champions and the Dwight McMillan Award in Orangeburg this past weekend. It also achieved its highest score ever of 97.
Needless to say, year 27 under Deen’s direction has been quite special.
That said, even when it comes outside of competition, the bands provide a very valuable service. Just think how many times the bands have helped get the Jacket and Predator crowds riled up during a key moment. It’s something that we take for granted, even though it’s right there every week.
Having come from a school where football and band were both crucial – Batesburg-Leesville – I know how important it was for parents and supporters to have the band there. It really just adds something extra, and you don’t quite know how well the two go together until you have a game without the musical component.
So here’s one to the students who have given their summers, weekends, afternoons and evenings in the hot sun. The ones who have the supportive parents who drive to Byrnes and Charleston and wherever else for support. You guys may feel forgotten at times, or unappreciated, but know that this editor and City both are proud and support you every step of the way.