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EHS Marching Tiger Band tunes up for coming season

The ever-encroaching start of the school year means that all kinds of high school extracurriculars are starting up—or in this case, tuning up.

The Elba High School Marching Tiger Band is busy preparing for the upcoming 2019 season in band camp. The band rehearses their music indoors in the afternoon and then has marching practice outside once the sun goes down.

Returning band director Shaun Hammonds said that even though the band has many young members this year, there is still a strong group of senior leaders.

Hammonds said, "We've got a lot of great seniors. We've got a big group of seniors that we're going to lose, and they're going to be a huge loss."

The nearly 20 seniors make up roughly one-fifth of the band this year, and many of them, like Miresa Harbuck, are section leaders.

Harbuck is the flutes and clarinets section leader and has been in marching band since ninth grade. She said that she considered joining two years earlier but hesitated. However, since joining four years ago, Harbuck said she's happy with her decision.

"You never really get tired of it," Harbuck said.

Another senior, Elizabeth Woodham, is the band's drum major. Woodham, in her second year as the band’s drum major, has participated in band since the fifth grade.

"I love it," Woodham said. "I just love doing it because it feels like you're doing something worthwhile."

Both Woodham and Harbuck said they have seen the marching band change since they started marching.  Since Hammonds returned to the high school in 2016, Harbuck said the band continues to grow. Woodham said the incoming seventh graders help replace graduating seniors.

"We've definitely gotten better since Hammonds got here, and we always have new talent coming in every year," Woodham said.

Hakeem Scott, an incoming seventh grader, is one in the new pool of talent. Scott played mellophone in fifth grade but hasn't played it much since then. He picked it back up this year because he heard about how much fun band was.  

"You get to go on fun trips, and you get to have fun with your friends," Scott said. "If you're just at home, there's nothing to do."

Hammonds said that these students, the ones who are young, new and excited, are the best ones to watch.

"It's always fun every year when you come in here and you start from the top—you start from the beginning," he said. "It's kind of fun seeing them grow, seeing them go from being rough on the field the first couple days of band camp to that finished product in October."

Overall, this will be Hammonds' tenth year as the director of the Elba High School Marching Tiger Band and his fourth since his return to the school in 2016.      The band itself is entering its 77th year, and Hammonds said that its long tradition is a major part of the band's success.

"This town has a proud, rich history," he said. "The community loves the band. They love the school, and the band is a huge part as well as the athletics."

Both Hammonds and the students are looking forward to competing later in the year and performing at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Tags: Elba

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