PRC band ready to return to a normal band camp this summer

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pearl River Central’s band was able to take full advantage of the relaxed COVID-19 restrictions this spring while preparing for summer band camp.

The Blue Brigade was able to rehearse and fine tune things with fewer COVID-19 guidelines during the spring semester, and the hard work paid off when the band went to the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s evaluations.

The band received an “Excellent” rating and were only a few points from registering a “Superior” rating. Band Director Kelcey Becnel said the scores were the program’s highest since she’s taken charge, and was an indication the program was moving in the right direction. The band didn’t get to host an in-person spring concert, and instead had an alumni come in and record the full ensemble’s performance so the musicians would have a digital copy of the music they’d spent months perfecting. The band is now preparing for band camp to take place at the end of July, and Becnel said all of the work done during the spring will benefit the group.

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“The fact that we were able to have a concert evaluation was very important, along with the fact that the students were still able to work towards a goal and receive comments and feedback, especially since we didn’t have marching evaluations in the fall. The guidelines being lifted and made simpler has been very good for us,” Becnel said. The program is currently in a slight state of flux because Becnel had to pull up her eighth grade musicians last year to fill out the band after numerous musicians left the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that there will be a fairly large learning curve for the incoming freshman and next year’s eighth graders who will also be pulled into the high school band.

However, the opportunity to have rehearsals without restrictions and a normal band camp should provide plenty of time for the musicians to get acclimated.

“I think with the excitement of things returning to normal we can push newer students to dive in and work hard to make sure they’re doing things well, being excited about band,” Becnel said.