On Oct. 20, Hernando High School hosted the county’s first annual Band-A-Paloosa event. Four high schools (Central, Hernando, Springstead, and Weeki Wachee) joined forces with five middle schools (Challenger, Explorer, Parrott, Powell, West Hernando). The primary purpose of the event was to give middle schoolers a glimpse into the world of marching and the exhilarating experience it can provide.
The high school bands started off by playing their own marching shows. Shortly after, middle school students were paired up with high school students by instrument to perform songs frequently heard at football games. The sight was one to be seen – a couple of hundred musicians playing together on one field in perfect harmony. Superintendent John Stratton and several colleagues were in attendance to show their support for the arts.
Mr. Joseph Harrin, the band director for Hernando High School, felt the need for such an event to encourage middle school students to transition to the area’s high school music programs. Experienced musicians were given the opportunity to share their excitement and passion with those unsure of continuing with the program past the eighth grade.
Another event hosted by Hernando High School was the Florida Bandmasters Association Marching Band MPA (Music Performance Assessment) for District Five. Twenty-two high school marching bands from Citrus, Sumter, Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties competitively performed to demonstrate their marching and musical abilities.
Each school was critiqued in five areas: marching/visual performance, general effects, music, auxiliary, and percussion. They were then given a rating of either Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor in each category and for an overall score as well. In addition to having to provide accommodations for thousands of musicians and spectators, Hernando High School Royale Regiment wrapped up its season with a “Superior” rating and a great sense of accomplishment.
You might have seen a musical performance by one of these bands while you were cheering on the football team or waiting in line at the concession stand. Perhaps you might have noticed the band at not only the home games but the away games as well. They yell, shout, and play loudly for the team, with little or no reciprocity – yet they perform their hearts out for the entire world to hear.
However, these young musicians don’t play for any tangible medal or for the applause of a football stadium. They are intrinsically motivated to pursue their passion – performing music. Marching band students dedicate 15-20 hours after school while juggling academics. For the events they sponsor, band students are required to help with the setup and the clean up – from setting up signs and tents to cleaning up the trash in the stands.
Long after the crowds leave, the music fades, and the stadium lights dim, you won’t find a single student complaining about how tired they are. In fact, you’ll find them laughing, playing, or talking with their band friends because that’s what they look forward to the most. Although it is the price of hard work required to succeed, it is the benefit of lasting friendships and memories they cherish.