Thoughts on a Successful Band Camp

The 2017 season for SOTOGAB has already been one of the most successful in recent years. The quality and amount of material covered over the course of band camp was not affected with a shortened camp. In addition to efficiently using band camp week to cover much material, the numbers of the band have also increased with the drumline making up a quarter of the band this year. Coming out of band camp week and moving into our public performances, we were able to play and march all of our pre-game show, our opener, and play many of our stand tunes. I am to believe that much of the success from this week comes from our great leadership team/leadership camp.

We delved deeper as an organization into our mission statement and purpose. With this introspective and positive attitude after the leadership retreat, we went into band camp with great footing. As usual, the drumline and colorguard showed up a couple of days in advance to better prepare them for when the full band showed up. Some of the members in our band this year have had to work especially hard because they come from schools in which they never marched before. One such member, Rafael Lima from Brazil, is playing on the drumline this year and has a unique perspective on the marching arts.

One might wonder why someone with little musical practice and no marching experience at all might join the marching band. When asked, Rafael said, “I was a fan of football and basketball. I wanted to have that school spirit. It’s a plus being able to go to all the games and build a bond with the people in the band.” This statement encapsulates what the leaders talked about during the leadership retreat. It is important for all students to build this bond, but especially for international students because they want a place they can call home.

It has not been all easy for Rafael though, and he has had to overcome several challenges. Before this summer, Rafael had never read sheet music or marched before. He watched YouTube videos to assist him in learning to read music. During the week of band camp, he was able to learn how to incorporate the musical skills he has developed with the aspect of marching, but his favorite moment from the week was bowling night. He loved it so much because it was a time for the drumline to hang out outside of band camp and get to know each other. He now feels open to speaking with his drumline family about anything (very often it’s about basketball with section leader Alex Moffe).

We look forward to what is shaping up to be a great year for SOTOGAB!

Sam Sutton

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