DANVILLE — Megapods, delayed stepoffs and basic blocks are just some of the marching fundamentals practiced by the 48-member Fredericktown marching band during a week of intensive rehearsals at Camp McPherson.
Junior high band director Jessica Overholt was pleased with the progress made by the band over the week, especially since at least half of the musicians are first-timers. High school band director Ron Graham seconded her sentiments.
“The young ones are really shaping up,” he said. “Our older members have been great leaders, and after four days, you would never know some of the band members are new.”
Graham said field commander Jenny Dilts and band president Meghen Fisher both carried out their duties as band veterans “splendidly.”
Eighth-grade drummer Kevin Williams is one of the novices and said that band camp, although really hard work, is worth it.
“We’re more concentrated here,” he explained. “It’s hard, but we’re having fun, too. We’re really getting stuff done and getting our performance ready. I’m looking forward to the marching season.”
Williams and the other band members like spending a week away from distractions and having the opportunity to make new friends at camp, said parent volunteer Tammy Klein.
“Some of the youngsters were a little worried about how the upperclassmen would be,” she said, “but they have been very good with the young ones and very supportive. They’ve really helped make it like a family.”
Although the band could learn drills and music on the football field in Fredericktown, there are advantages to an overnight camp “away from it all.”
“There’s a lot of teamwork because its concentrated,” Overholt said. “The kids learn to work together and become a family. There are fewer distractions, and at this point they live and breathe band. We were here almost a full week and we got a lot done. We work on basic marching fundamentals and formations and we put together our competition show, and, of course, we work on music.”
“And we have all the students here,” added Graham. “They are all learning the same thing at the same time. Everyone is more focused.”
Overholt said a small army of parent volunteers help make the camp a success. Some took turns staying overnight, and others switched off helping during the day. Volunteer Ciera Awwiller helped teach basic marching techniques while volunteer Tom Miller assisted with the music part of camp.