Fight songs, flying flags, cheers signal the fall season

Summer

In Howard County

August 26, 2005

When the high school varsity football season opens Sept. 9, you can bet the marching bands, color guard units and cheerleaders will be ready. That's because, like the players, they've been practicing.

At Atholton, where Lee Stevens begins his 20th year as director of bands, the marching band and 17-member color guard unit have been rehearsing together since Aug. 15. Last week they were practicing seven hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) a day on the school parking lot.

"We're practicing six hours a day this week," Stevens said Wednesday. "But we're taking shorter breaks."

Atholton has roughly 84 students participating in the marching band/color guard unit.

"Their work ethic is exemplary," Stevens said. "They never complain."

Atholton's halftime show is about 9 1/2 minutes. And just like football players, the members of the marching band/color guard have a playbook.

"They have 80 to 85 pages of drills," Stevens said.

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