Picayune’s band camp prepares students for competition season

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 20, 2018

The Picayune Memorial High School marching band is preparing for the upcoming football, concert and competitive seasons.

Band Booster Club President Jennifer Moore said the camp is two weeks and two days long and allows members of the band, color guard and dance team to learn this year’s musical arrangements and marching formations for halftime performances. Several volunteers have come out to help, including former students who are in college studying to be band directors.

Band Director John Cockrell said that so far, the camp has been going very well. He said this year’s theme for the halftime shows is based on the Industrial Revolution, and a lot of work is being put into the costumes and props. Cockrell said the number of students involved in band has been steady between this year and last year.

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Moore said that while football season is quickly approaching, the group’s priority is to be ready for the upcoming competitive season. She said they usually compete at several events annually, including the state competition, which they have placed in during the past several years.

“Football season is like our dress rehearsal,” Moore said.

She said the camp gives students a chance to learn their basic routines. Once the school year begins, they will perform these routines during football season while slowly adding on different elements until the routines are competition-ready. After football season, the band will perform at various concerts and in the Mardi Gras parades held at Disney World in Florida at the beginning of 2019.

Cockrell said that in his eight years as band director, he has taken students to Disney on four separate occasions.

Moore said the Booster Club is in charge of holding fundraisers to purchase equipment, provide food during the camp and help send the group to Disney when they are invited. She said over the past few years, the Booster Club has purchased a trailer for the band’s equipment, a 4-wheeler to move equipment and heavy instruments during performances and built the tower that stands over the practice field. Currently they are raising money to send the students to Disney, as it can cost around $100,000 to send the entire group, Moore said. At the moment, Moore said the band is fundraising at April’s by selling items for the new school year.

Cockrell said this year’s group of performers is very young, so he is excited to discover their potential.