Despite hot weather and poor air quality, the Placer High School Marching Band put in 30 hours of hard work to prepare for the upcoming football season before school even starts.
The band, led by music director David Lawrenson, practiced from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m on Aug. 6 to Aug. 10. School is scheduled to start on Aug. 14.
The band is welcoming over 30 new freshman to the band, making the total 95 students. Lawrenson said practicing the week before gives them a chance to make some friends before the first day of school.
“It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of fun,” Lawrenson said.
Starting early also means students can get the routines down and polish and improve throughout the season. The band has to learn the football game routine, the homecoming routine and prepare for concert season.
Freshman Will Cranney, 14, says he’s already making friends. He came from EV Cain Middle School where he played the trumpet in its band.
Cranney said the best part of camp is meeting all of the upperclassmen.
“It shows me what I might be like in the band later on,” Cranney said.
Recently, fires have caused poor air quality in northern California. According to Lawrenson, the air quality has not been affecting the students.
“Monday and Tuesday we were lucky and the air quality was good and it was very cool,” Lawrenson said.
Marching band is a class held at Placer High. Outside of class, the students are expected to participate in rehearsals on the afternoons before football games.
At practice, Lawrenson uses a drone to record the marching formations and shows it to the band so they can see where they need to improve.
He said the drone provides a unique perspective so that the students can see a bird’s eye view of their formations.
Many members of the band emphasized the camaraderie between all of the band members.
“It’s more than just a class, it’s a sense of family and community,” Alisha Stolze, 16, said.
President of the band, Hailey Matyac, 17, is going into her senior year and has been playing in the band all four years of high school.
She said the band all eats together before its football performances. During camp, the students compete in different games to see who gets to be first in line for the food at these dinners.
Senior Matthew Yee is following in his sister’s footsteps as the drum major of the band. His sister, Evelyn Yee, was the drum major during her time at Placer High.
“The tradition we have here creates a very unique community,” Yee said. “We have a legacy of going to football games and welcoming the freshman.”
Noah Bromberg, 15, has been playing the trombone since he was in the sixth grade.
“It completes the football game. It brings everything together,” Bromberg said.