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Band camp readies Bob Jones musicians for upcoming season

Bob Jones High School band members sweated while memorizing music and drills at band camp.

Camp prepared Bob Jones Band for the upcoming marching season.

Bob Jones Band has two drum majors, 20 Patriotette dancers, 30-member color guard, 72 woodwinds, 56 brass and 38 percussionists. Doyle Thornton is director. Leigh Thomas is assistant band director.

“The weather was much milder than in previous years. We had good cloud cover (most) of the week. When we didn’t, we gave students water/rest breaks every 20-30 minutes,” Thornton said.

Band boosters supplied Popsicles twice daily. Students brought gallon jugs of cold water, along with sunblock, hats and light-colored clothing. Many students wore wet clothing around their necks to cool themselves.

This year’s show opener, “Big Noise from Winnetka,” is “a swinging tune that has become a Bob Jones favorite and features the Patriotettes and trumpet solo,” Thornton said. A tribute to rock legend Queen follows with “Somebody to Love,” featuring trombone and alto saxophone soloists. The finale, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” spotlights percussionists.

Thornton arranged the music. University of Alabama director Dr. Ken Ozzello wrote the drill.

“Drill techs” assist during marching rehearsals. Woodwind drill techs are Tinia Harris, Alyssa Jarreau, piccolo; Tyler Renn, Kalifa Stringfield, clarinet; Daniel Unger, Katherine Schreiber, Olivia Zuvanich, Hayden Miller, saxophone.

For brass, Ryan LaGrone and Raina Strickland are trumpet drill techs; Jacquelyn Armstrong, Rachel Lee, mellophone; Shannon Farr, David Kidd, trombone; Brian Cantrell, baritone; and James Earl Jones, tuba.

For percussion, Mitchell Corder manages snare drums; Stuart Russler, tenor; Sam Benefield, bass; Connor Duke, cymbals; and Sarah Goldsmith, front ensemble.

Drum majors Brenton Nash and Sarah Schumaker attended George N. Parks Drum Major Camp. In Madison, Nash and Schumaker led stretches, marching basics, music rehearsals and “inspired both new and old members with exceptional leadership skills and enthusiasm,” Thomas said.

Thomas, a former UA drum major, offered “tricks of the trade” to Nash and Schumaker. “They’re extraordinary young people, committed to the band’s success,” Thomas said. “I look forward to seeing what they and (the band) accomplish this season.

Thornton and Thomas don’t see James Clemens High School as rivals but fellow members of the greater Madison musical community. “We encourage our students to focus on being the best musicians they can be rather than being in competition,” Thornton said.

Bob Jones and James Clemens bands will share the field on Military Appreciation Night on Sept. 7.

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