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Sparkman Marching Band on field in heart-pounding pace

HARVEST – Returning to the field after seizing prestigious honors in 2018 contests, Sparkman High School Band has memorized, fine-tuned and rehearsed its shows to please audiences and judges again in 2019.

To prepare for the upcoming season, all sections reported to Band Camp on July 15 through July 26. The band learned most of the marching band program and the first two parts of the competition band program.

David Raney is Director of Bands at Sparkman. Robbie Stout works as Assistant Band Director, and Jack Albert serves as Director of Percussion.

Guiding the band this year as Drum Majors are seniors Jamie Douglas and Erin Eurton and sophomore Kaden Burgess. “They have daily operations duties for the band rehearsals, such as preparing equipment, taking attendance, directing students to specific locations, just to name a few,” Raney said.

“To Rewrite the Stars,” their 2019 competition program’s theme, is a story of a scientist’s dream, planning, setbacks and accomplishments of space exploration. Musical numbers include selections from “New Moon in the Old Moon’s Arms,” “Rewrite the Stars” and “The Planets.”

Continuing the space theme, the marching band show features popular songs, including “Space Odyssey,” “Counting Stars,” “Space Jam” and “Rocket Man.”

“We are looking forward to six home games this year, after having so many away games last year,” Raney said.

For the marching show, Sparkman has 284 students on the field. The percussion or drumline accounts for 37 students. The powerful brass line has 115 players, while 86 students are playing woodwinds. The Sparkman Color Guard has 44 members.

The competition band that performs for contest awards has 166 students. “This year’s competition program is more physically demanding than in years past. (The show) reaches tempos up to 172 beats per minute,” Raney said. Numerous instrumentalists play solos during the field shows.

Students in Sparkman’s competition band will challenge themselves to reach the caliber of awards from their 2018 season when they claimed the tittle of State Class 7A Marching Band Champions.

In addition, Sparkman qualified for finals at Bands of America Regional Competition in Orlando, Fla. At the Northwest Alabama Marching Classic, the Senators claimed honors for “Grand Champion,” “Challenge Cup,” “Most Entertaining Band,” and “Best in Class – Soloist,” along with top awards for drum major, percussion and guard.

The percussion section won a Gold Medal in the Winter Guard International or WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. The varsity guard earned a Gold Medal in the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit or SCGC Championships.

Sparkman’s 2019 schedule includes Tennessee Valley Invitational Marching Competition, Oct. 19, Muscle Shoals; Bands of America Atlanta Regional Competition, Oct. 26, Mercedes-Benz Stadium; and Alabama State Marching Band Competition, Nov. 2, Montgomery.

For more information, visit sparkmanband.com.

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