Approximately 400 students from far and near invaded Grambling State University in search of the annual high band camp on Sunday, July 9.
They come from states including Virginia, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. They had to get as much rest as possible on the day they arrived because their weekly routine rivals that of the military.
Each day they are awakened at 5:30 a.m. and have aerobics from 6 to 6:45 a.m. From 7 to 7:45 a.m. the auxiliary units practice. The campers get a break at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Then at 9:30 a.m. it’s back to work for instrument training. At 11 a.m. the campers have ear training, and at noon they have a much needed lunch hour. From 1:30 to 3 p.m., they have jazz band. For the next hour they are marching, then from 4 to 5:30 p-.m. the campers are broken down into sections. After which, they have dinner and social hour, and this formally ends their day.
This may seem like a lot but it is really paying off.
“They don’t just learn to march.” said Dr. Larry Panell, GSU band director. They learn how to play
jazz, classical and orchestra music as well.
Panell gains satisfaction from knowing that many of these campers will take what they learned back to their school bands. “GSU’s name will be perpetuated all over the country,” Panell boasted.
He also wants the students to leave being all around better musicians and be successful in which ever way they choose to pursue music.
It is not an easy job teaching all of these campers. That’s why only the best band directors from middle and high schools all over the United States are chosen to be on the staff.
“They have to have a quality, award winning program,” Dr Panell said.
Even though it seems tough, the students understand the importance of this program and are truly enjoying themselves.
“They show you things that you will never learn from any other band,” said Sirena Harris, a seventh grader from Ferriday. She said that aerobics is her favorite activity and she hopes to one day play the trombone for the World Famed Tiger Marching Band.
Cameron Cammock of Tallulah says that he came to learn more about Grambling’s band and really enjoys marching. He hopes to know how to read music better by the end of the camp.
Donavan Watson, also of Tallulah, hopes to gain more experience so he can have the respect of his band mates back home.
The campers take a break from their hard work to hold such activities as talent night, movies, game-day, and a dance.
The camp end on Saturday with a performance in the square in front of Dunbar Hall and an award ceremony where honor presented will include best male camper, best female camper and best in each section among others.