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Poplarville band prepares for first contest

The Hornets’ marching band has been preparing for their competitive debut this year since before classes went into session.

Not only have the musicians been perfecting the musical and marching aspects of their performance, but Band Director Josh Tidwell said the musicians’ physical endurance has improved as well.

Just this week the band implemented the final portion of their show into their rehearsals, and Tidwell said the musicians would still need to work on some things before their Gulf Coast Invitational in Biloxi, Miss. set for Saturday.

“It’s just repetition, it’s the only way you can really learn a lot of things. We had one set that wasn’t working out very well, so we had to repeat that one set over and over again,” Tidwell said.

There’s still plenty of improvement to be had, but Tidwell said approaching the musicians in a positive way elicits a better response.

Instead of singling out an individual who may be out of time with the music or out of sync in the marching formation, Tidwell will address a set of multiple musicians with specific instructions for each student.

This prevents the musicians from feeling criticized, or singled out.

“The way that’s perceived depends on the approach. If you say, ‘Hey you need to focus on this,’ then mention to two or three other people nobody feels like they’ve been called out,” Tidwell said.

A major emphasis for Tidwell has been having his band improve on the communication of the tempo from one part of a song to the next.

The entire band is listening to the drum line for their queues, but audible factors involved in performing in a packed stadium can make it hard for the band to hear the tempo.

“When percussion is right in the middle, then everybody has to listen to that same point. You’ll have people socializing during that time, and you have a lot of noise that isn’t present during rehearsal,” Tidwell said.

For the first time in years the band will go into its first contest of the year with a complete show.

The seven-minute performance will include all of the music and routines the band has been practicing.

Tidwell said a key component for the band’s success this year has been the leadership.

“All of them have been doing their part to keep things moving forward. I’ve also seen younger students that are starting to show promise to be future leaders,” Tidwell said.

The state evaluation takes place Oct. 12 at Tupelo High School.

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