Wando band members beat the heat
For most students, summer equals vacation time, a chance to soak in the sun and not worry about school for a few months.
But now that August is here, the summer break is over for the Wando High School marching band, which started band camp this past week.
The band has been practicing fundamental drills in the cooler morning instead of the afternoons to avoid the area’s rising temperatures.
“It’s better to do it (in the morning), and later it won’t feel hot because they will be more adjusted to it,” said senior drum major Claire Bogdan.
But even then, they feel the effects of the summer heat but refuse to let it get to them.
“We are all just out here together, so we just learn to ignore it,” said Ryan Berberian, senior drum major with the marching band. “It’s just part of what we do.”
This year, 240 students are in the Wando High School marching band with 82 freshmen making up for the loss of 42 seniors last year.
According to the drum majors, the freshmen have displayed promising leadership and positive attitudes as they prepare for their first competition as part of the band.
“It always depends on the freshmen to set the mood, and they really have stepped up with an attitude that shows that they are ready to work,” said senior drum major Haley Byers.
South Carolina high school bands do not have to follow the same restrictions as football teams in the S.C. High School League. Marching bands can take advantage of the daylight hours they are given, but band directors work out a schedule to balance time spent in the heat of the day.
During the school year, students’ academic needs help determine band schedules.
“We try to establish a schedule that maximizes our time without interfering with the students’ school time,” said Scott Rush, head band director at Wando.
The school will host its ninth annual Lowcountry Invitational Marching Band Classic in October. Wando does not compete in the invitational but rather performs as an exhibition band.
High school marching bands from across the state and Pope High School from Marietta, Ga., are invited to enter.
The invitational is more like an educational program where the judges sit down with the band members after the show and tell them how they can improve, Rush said.
“We like to view it as an educational process, and it also gives us the opportunity to have people come and talk with our group,” Rush said.
The band will be participating in the 5A division of the state championship as well as the Walterboro Band Classic at Colleton County in September. The Wando students also will be the only South Carolina high school marching band to compete in the Bands of America Super Regional in Atlanta in October.