Picayune band fine-tuning show

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 21, 2019

The musicians of the Picayune Memorial High School band have been hard at work to get their halftime show ready for competition.

To do that, they’ve been performing at events and each football game to get the experience they need.

Band Director John Cockrell said he’s seen improvement from his musicians, but the students still have a lot of work to do.

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“Our footwork is a little better along with our body posture. The transition from song to song has gotten better, but we still have to take that time in between songs and scrunch that down,” Cockrell said.

The band has been traveling with the football team to every away game and performing their show on different fields.

However, each environment is unique, and Cockrell said the musicians have been trained on how to adapt to each new situation.

“Certain fields are natural grass and there may be a hole in the field. That’s why in our marching fundamentals there are certain things we do with our feet to keep us from hurting ourselves. With a turf field you also have to make sure you’re doing your fundamentals because if not you can roll or twist your ankle,” Cockrell said.

Now the band has become accustomed to playing in front of a crowd, and because of that traveling to different venues for different audiences doesn’t affect the musicians.

However, there is a lot that goes into making sure the production rolls smoothly, and the band fills three trailers full of equipment for each away game.

“It takes a lot to do a 10 minute show. It’s a lot of work for 10 minutes, but we want everybody to be proud of it. We want to put on these really cool shows that everybody likes, but that takes a lot of effort,” Cockrell said. Cockrell said the musicians need to start focusing on tone quality and musicianship.

That includes working on breathing, and timing it correctly so the music sounds up to par. “You have to stagger breathing. You have to breathe at different times, so that the music is still being produced. That way when one individual gasps for oxygen everyone else is still holding down the fort,” Cockrell said. Cockrell expects the upcoming shows to be cleaner than the past few, and the band is still working to implement the final portion of the production.

“This show is the same show we’ve done the past two games. The show was entertaining, but nowhere near contest ready, and basically it boils down to each individual performer being 100 percent in it,” Cockrell said.

There is little time to implement the final act of the production with the band’s first competition set for Oct. 5. With the contest closing in, Cockrell said it’s time for the musicians to put their heads down and give it their all.

“It’s getting kind of close, which is kind of scary. We hope to put that on the field next week, but the pressure is on,” Cockrell said.