Marching band camp helps Panthers gain on the competition NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

NEIGHBORS

September 01, 1993|By PAT BRODOWSKI

Last week, barely audible over the hum of neighborhood air conditioners, was an unmistakable sound. Boom, da boom.

Under the blazing sun, the Panthers marching band of North Carroll High School was stepping off to the beat of drums. Some 60 students were blaring brassy renditions of four popular movie themes, and 15 girls were working to synchronize banners and bowler hats. There were 50 positions to step into across the field.

This was band camp, a traditional two-week rite of passage for band members, a cram session before schoolwork and the dual seasons of football games and band competitions.

Marching, in its sixth year at North Carroll, has produced bands ++ that are ready to work at the first whistle in August.

It's when a tradition of music and marching is well established that the quality of performance increases, said Diane Nye, the marching instructor. In four years, North Carroll's band has risen in competitive ratings. Marching band became an extracurricular activity this year.

Andy Smith, an aide at the camp who graduated last spring, remembers his freshman band days. "It was horrible," he said. "In band camp, we'd be lucky to get through two songs. [This year], we're 75 percent done."

"We're actually a competitive band this year," said Mrs. Nye, who teaches instrumental music in Baltimore County.

"Our program is young. Other bands have more tradition," she said. Immediately, the South Carroll Cavaliers come to mind.

For three months every autumn, local competitions are staged with bands from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Numerical scores at competitions are given to inspire self-improvement. The top scorers are invited to upper-level competitions.

Only bands of similar size meet head to head.

In Carroll County, Westminster is the largest, Francis Scott Key the smallest. Liberty, North Carroll and South Carroll are in the same group. When North meets South, South usually wins. Last year, North began to gain.

"We were busting their chops," Andy laughs. "When you see your scores getting better and better, when you begin at 40 [points] as a freshman and, like last year, reach 80 [out of 100], that's a tremendous improvement."

"Even after summer vacation, we work constantly, over and over, until it's perfect," said Terry Schroyer, band alumnus who's passed her trumpet to her sister Angela.

"We always say, 'If you're in marching band you have no life,' " says Mrs. Nye. For band camp, she rises at 5 a.m., marches from 8 until 4, and works on snafus until she drops into bed at 7 p.m. She wouldn't do anything else.

She marched in junior high in Baltimore County schools and became a music major on marching scholarship in college. She's been at North Carroll for four years.

Like instructors Rodney Leese and Joe Clark for percussion, and Tiffiny Barbera and Lisa Schultze for brass, she gets a stipend from the parent band booster club. The special instructors return for evening rehearsals when school starts.

"Band is a family," says Mrs. Nye. "We're never in a boring place. We're either having the time of our lives because we won, or

bonding together to try again. It would be hard to lose any one of us because we spend so much time together."

But lose they have. Band director Gene Bochniak died July 31 after an extended illness. John Degolia is the new director.

"This is a healing season for us," Mrs. Nye said. "We're trying to have fun, to keep progressing. We want [the band members] to do well. It's been hard to lose [Mr. Bochniak's] leadership."

This summer, several band alumni turned out to help at the band camp. They included Terry Schroyer, Stephanie Wiegel, Missy Parker, Melissa Sharpe, Becky Schoeffield and Andy Smith.

"Because our band director passed away, we wanted to get them going," said Andy.

"We'll be better," says Mrs. Nye. "That's always our goal."

*

The Panthers' drum majors this year are senior Angela Bowen and junior Sarah Jones. Guard captains are Kim Straley and Tina Fidler. The silk instructor is Judy Henn.

The North Carroll High School band council has elected Erin Brett president; Angela Bowen vice president; Jane Bohager secretary; Jaime Mecler treasurer; Michelle Trevey librarian; and Joel Perry and Angie Schroyer historians, who will photograph the band in action and formulate a slide show at the end of the year.

*

Behind every footstep made on the field, there has been careful thought by Richard Adams of Dillsburg, Pa. He writes marching band programs for Liberty, Westminster and North Carroll high schools and three others in Pennsylvania.

"I write movement based upon music," Mr. Adams explains. In his shows, the band members are in constant motion. "I write everywhere they go on the field. The important thing is not the pictures they make, but the movement from picture to picture."

"It's like a movie," he said. "One frame doesn't tell the story. Put pictures in sequence and you get the story. The picture is a point through which they pass."

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