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Many students see the band as the halftime show on Friday nights or the music at the pep rallies. But like any sports team or organization, the band does not just show up to these events. Behind the scenes time, effort, and preparation all go into what students know as The Lake Brantley Marching Band.
The Band is made up of 270 Lake Brantley students, not including the 75 members of the Sparklers Dance Team. These students are required to take a band class at school, practice after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and rehearse Friday before football games. Not only do they practice during the school year, but they also hold camps over the summer to prepare for Marching Season.
“The biggest surprise to me in band this year is how supportive everybody is and how quickly everybody bonds, especially in our separate sections,” freshman clarinet player Jessica Lepp said. “It is a huge and surprising reward when you first perform the full half time show or the musical selections for your concert after the hours of work you put into learning and perfecting it.”
But the band does not stop performing when football season comes to a close. Once Marching Season ends, the band begins what is known as Concert Season. During this time, they perform more lyrical and classical pieces arranged for a concert band. The Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) requires schools to have a marching band season before having a concert band.
“I definitely prefer Marching Season because there is just so much more you can do with it,” Field Commander Jared Hotchkiss said. “Everything about marching is just so much fun because there is so much to it. Everyone has there own specific job. Every single person has to know what they’re doing otherwise the entire band falls apart.”
In order to help organize and provide support for the Marching Patriots, many parents volunteer their time. These volunteers have many jobs including providing water at practices, cleaning the stands, and running the band concession stand. They also make alterations to the uniforms and quick fixes before the games.
“The parents have completely revolutionized the way we do things because most schools do not have as good of a parent system as we do,” drum major Parker Garrity said. “The parents completely do everything we cannot do, or that if we tried to do would be a lot worse for us. They help out a lot.”
The Lake Brantley Marching Band has been directed by Cindy Berry for 31 years. Under her leadership, they have received 30 years of straight superiors at their FBA evaluations. The band is led by Drum Majors Jason Santiago, Zach Kreisler, and Parker Garrity.
“Music has impacted my life because when I am playing music or just listening to music I feel like it is kind of like an escape from whatever stress I have during the day,” Hotchkiss said. “When it comes to band class, you go from stressful classes to band and it just really calms you down, really calms your nerves.”