Drill, baby, drill is what 132 members of the Havelock High School Ram Marching Band did last week at their annual band camp to prepare for the upcoming football season.
The camp is where the instrumentalists and color guard members synchronize their on-field presentation with their music.
“It’s looking pretty good right now,” said band director Jorge Benitez. ”It’s been rough here in the last week with the weather and the heat the last three weeks. But this week it’s been good and we’ve been able to learn everything we’ve needed to learn so it’s been a good week.”
“It’s the biggest band we’ve had in a few years,” Benitez said.
Benitez has been leading the band at Havelock for the last 21 years.
The camp lasted for five full days of practice followed by a concert on Saturday.
“In the morning we learn the drill and then we go into the band room and memorize the music for the drill that we just did and then we come out after that we spend the last hour and a half putting everything together so we can hear the music and the drill,” Benitez said. “I don’t see a lot of the progress initially, but two or three months down the road as we learn the show and get everything the way we want it, it’s amazing what these kids can do.”
John Fiesler, a senior who plays marching baritone, said he loved the camp.
“It’s a good hot time in the sun,” Fiesler said. “I always get time to even out my tan because it gets pretty white over the winter. It’s a lot of fun with friends and everything.”
The members learned a new drill every day.
“It’s hard. It gets me every time, remembering your sets and when you don’t get your set on time. You kind of beat yourself up about it,” Fiesler said. “You get a little agitated sometimes, but you’ve got to power through and keep going.”
“It’s a good experience and all the freshmen get to meet lots of new people before school starts,” said senior trombonist Thomas Buckner. “We get to learn all the new music and the new drill for the rest of the year.”
The color guard has become an integral part of the performance.
“It brings us together,” said Vanessa Ngirdimau, a senior and color guard member. “It’s a lot of hard work and it shows that if you can get through band camp you can get through pretty much anything that life throws at you. It’s all worth it.”
Audrey Hargrove, another senior member of the color guard, said the camp pushes members to be their best.
“I think it really pushes yourself to do the very best that you can. It lets you find out things you can never do regularly that you are able to do,” Hargrove said. “It’s just really fun to get out with the whole band and just work our tails off really.”