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HHS band features 117 members, largest in 12 years

Andrea Williamson

Hartselle Enquirer

Music echoed from the band room and practice field during Hartselle High School’s band camp July 27-31.

The students met each day from 8 a.m. to noon and again from 5:30-9 p.m., with a schedule change on Wednesday to accommodate church services. Despite sweltering temperatures and several rainstorms, Director of Bands Randall Key said the band managed to stay on schedule throughout the week.

“We would like to be further ahead than we are,” Key said, “but we are not behind. We are in very good shape.”

Weather, however, was not the only challenge facing the HHS band. The 117 musicians, color guard members and majorettes comprise the largest band Hartselle has seen in 12 years. According to Key, the larger number of band students bring additional costs to the program. However, Key is confident that they are prepared to finance the large number of students.

“We are an organic program,” he said. “We try to use very few props, and just focus on playing music and entertaining the crowd. We just prioritize on what we choose to spend.”

Size is not the only distinguishing factor of the 2015-2016 band, though. According to Key, this year’s group has an unusually large percentage of freshman and young band members. Key said, though, that the freshman are performing well in the band.

“It’s a young group,” Key said. “They are doing well, though. They are eager to learn and impressive on many levels.”

HHS senior and drum major Ally Burgess said that she was excited to have so many young members.

“A lot of people graduated last year, but I like having a new group,” Burgess said. “I have gotten to meet new people and make friends. Band is not just about the music; it is also about the people. Band becomes a type of family.”

For the 2015-2016 season, the band will be performing a tribute to 1970s rock. Key said he mainly looked for a theme that would be entertaining to the audience. However, he said he also looked for something that was new and enjoyable to the students.

“People always ask me how I will top last year’s program,” Key said. “I have learned that we don’t need to top each year; we just need to repeat that level of quality. Each show has a personality of its own.”

Overall, Key said that he is pleased with the band program and looks forward to the upcoming season.

“The students are excited about it, and I am too,” Key said. “We have a great staff, and I have had great help from former students. The drum line, majorettes and color guard are doing a great job, as well.”