EDMOND — Historic heat wasn't enough to stop summer drills for members of the Edmond Memorial High School band — seeking to continue a level of excellence that will take them to national competition in the fall.
The two-week summer band camp, which ended Friday, was not for the faint of heart. About 230 marchers showed up for drills in record-setting heat.
Hours of dedication are poured out on the football field for band members looking to learn how to properly march and do so in unison. When it all comes together, the public might take the performance for granted. Yet it takes a lot of work.
The culmination this season will be a trip to Indianapolis on Nov. 7-11 to compete against 80 of the top marching bands in the nation.
“I'm excited about band,” said senior flutist Sarah Beth Anderson. “Yeah, it's hot. But it doesn't really matter.”
For Sarah and others it's not just about hitting the right steps or notes.
“This teaches us time management and working with others,” she said.
Helping to train this year's Bulldog band is Kevin McDonald, 38, an adjunct band director in his ninth year as an English teacher. The goal is to produce an entertaining unit that will represent Memorial well at football games, parades and other school functions.
During the intense summer practice, a priority was to keep the students safe during sizzling temperatures.
“We have many breaks for the kids, and the ones who need the time off can come and get under the tent,” McDonald said, pointing to three band members who were resting under a tent while drinking water.
This week, practice moved to some night sessions. When school starts Aug. 17, there will be early morning practices.
Putting together a top marching band is a team effort, McDonald said.
“We're lucky to have phenomenal support from the schools as well as our parent booster organization,” he said.
It takes substantial funding for the band to perform. Among the costs are uniforms, instruments and transportation. Just getting all the band members to one location requires six buses, and a semitrailer is needed for the equipment. Even with that, four or five parents may be called upon to take additional equipment, McDonald noted.