• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Band camp energizes WCHS students for coming season

Eleven seniors will lead Woodford County High School’s marching band into its 2018-19 season. Their journey began with two-and-a-half weeks of band camp before the start of school.

“This band camp,” said WCHS senior Jenna Butler, “it’s been more energetic than any band camp I’ve been to so far … A lot of the kids are really into it. They really get into the music and the marching. It’s a lot of fun.”

Jenna described pushing through the long days of band camp – some lasting up to 12 hours – as necessary if WCHS wants to be one of the best marching bands in the state. “Anything is a possibility if you push hard enough,” she added.

Because band camp offers their “most concentrated time together,” band director Michael Collins said it’s important to get in a lot of work and he’s been pleased with the effort of his musicians.

“The younger kids seem especially eager,” said Collins. “They’re very eager to learn. They’re very eager to do a good job – maybe more so than any incoming class that I’ve had.”

WCHS freshmen and eighth-graders from Woodford County Middle School make up nearly half of this year’s marching band. “… They’re putting a lot into it,” said Jenna, “so it’s making (the hours of marching and playing) a lot more fun and … enjoyable.”

“We’ve got a lot of good, new marchers that are really working hard and putting a lot of effort into it,” agreed senior Cameron Young. As a whole, he said the band has made a lot of good progress with its music and marching while learning a new show.

“Voices of the Sky” incorporates visual and musical elements to depict birds, the sun, stars and a storm before the return of a clearing sky, according to Collins. “We want to have a sophisticated show,” he said, “… something that allows us to showcase musicality and sensitivity…”

WCHS senior percussionist Emma Brangers described “Voices of the Sky” as different in tenor.

“It’s not as intense and dark-sounding (as last year’s show), and it’s a lot more fun to play,” said Emma, 17. She predicted the show’s unusual musical elements will set WCHS apart from other high school bands in competition.

“A program like ours is definitely going to stick out throughout the course of a contest day,” Collins said.

From her perspective in the color guard, senior Annabelle Savage said she appreciates the contrasting style of this year’s show.

“This year,” said Annabelle, 17, “it’s more of a flowing, more energetic show. And I think it’s super-interesting what you can do with that…”

The WCHS marching band will perform “Voices of the Sky” during its first-ever appearance at Dance of America Grand Nationals in November, according to Collins. Community support has been vitally important in giving his students this opportunity to join marching bands from across the country at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, he said.

“Going as a spectator,” said Collins, “… I’ve gotten to see what an incredible performance opportunity it is … They get to watch bands from all over the country … They get to see what the truly elite programs in the country look and sound like. And the educational feedback that we get from a national judging panel is going to be second to none. So it’s going to help us all learn moving forward in trying to get better and better every year.”

With 77 students in this year’s WCHS marching band, Collins said he welcomed his largest group of musicians to camp in his four years as director.

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