Band Day Preparations

Band+Day+Preparations

Students involved in the music program at Greater Latrobe started the new school year on a high note by participating in the Band Day performance at the Greater Latrobe football game on September 17, 2010.  At the game, novice musicians from Mountain View Elementary, Latrobe Elementary, Baggaley Elementary, and the Greater Latrobe Junior High School combined with the Senior High School Marching Band on the field during half time, to show off the school’s musical talents as well as to show the students what it is like to be a part of the marching band.  Greater Latrobe Junior High band director Mr. Jordan said the students will take away “a sense of community, a positive musical experience and opportunity to interact with other band kids in a musical setting.” 

Until a few years ago, Band Day was an all day event.  The band section leaders, currently including junior reed captain Jake LeJeune, senior low brass captain Max Brown, senior drumline captain Brandon Wiser, senior pit percussion captain Tyler Hudock, junior trumpet captain Doug Smeltzer, senior flute captain Sarah Conley, and colorguard captains junior Jocelyn Stas and senior Jodi Musick spent time with the students rehearsing as a section.  Throughout the day, the captains and the rest of the section got to know each other better, therefore helping the younger students to learn more since they all began on different levels with regards to their musical abilities.  The individual section time is designed to help the students to grow as musicians.

Within the past two years, the event has changed from an all day event, to practicing during time that the band directors set aside, and meeting with older students once after school in the week before.  The challenge is that the younger students do not always focus or pay attention as well if they are only working as a section for a short period of time.  “I feel unhappy because they don’t feel like they have to listen because they have no idea who I am,” says junior marching band member Rebecca Keefe. 

More importantly, the experience of collecting all of the musicians together into one place is still one of the best things about Band Day.  “Getting all of the flutes together and seeing if they will join marching band,” is sophomore marching band member Katie Brinker’s favorite part about band day. 

Band director Mr. Jordan feels that the new system is easier for the students to understand and remember, “If they know the system better it is easier for them to get here and do what they need to do; now it is just 6:00 at the stadium.  It is much easier and then the students are ‘Good to go!’”  The upperclassmen went to the elementary schools the week of the event to work with students individually.  “They learn more and pickup little skills from the older kids,” says Latrobe Elementary School band director Miss Stevenson.

This annual event has undergone many changes and new additions over the past two years, but what hasn’t changed is what the students learn from the experience.  Miss Stevenson feels that Band Day is a great opportunity for the younger students to experience.  “When else do you have the instrumental musicians from grades 6-12 together to make music?  You can tell the kids enjoy it,” said Miss Stevenson.