Music has proven time and time again to better the lives of individuals, especially children.
Programs such as Southern University’s High School Band Camp and teachers like Anthony Hollins, band director at Brusly Middle and Brusly High schools, are giving these young artists the opportunity to learn and shape themselves in a safe, creative way, and that is more than great to see.
“I encourage all of my students to strive for excellence, which is the product of hard work and extra effort that creates the difference between an acceptable job and an outstanding job,” said Hollins.
The Southern University High School Band Camp got underway June 23, with more than 400 students between grades 7-12 from around the nation participating. It was the largest number of students in the 17-year history of the band camp.
Students had five days to learn, perfect, and memorize nine arrangements, those of which varied from marches to the popular songs heard on the radio. The majority of hours were spent on music with days starting as early as 6 a.m., and ending as late as midnight. Some evenings were spent marching on the practice field when weather permitted.
But it wasn’t all work and no play; the students enjoyed a talent show one night and the amenities of the Student Union another.
“The kids and I really had a blast this year!” said Hollins. “While they were working hard, I attended seminars and classes throughout the week. We got an opportunity to interact with peers from as far as the state of Washington to the Virgin Islands, and it’s these types of encounters where you hear and receive confirmation that you are on the right track and direction for your band program.”
The students’ efforts did not go unnoticed, as many participants received awards, standing out among the hundreds. Three students from the Brusly High Panther Band received such an acknowledgment, with a total of 12 students from Brusly attending the camp.
Mackenzie Melton, Austin Morales, and Levi Smith were recognized and awarded Outstanding Performer of 2014 Southern University Band Camp.
“They’re doing something right in Brusly,” said Nathan Haymer, the new director of the Southern University’s Human Jukebox as of July 1st.
Haymer, along with Brian Simmons, the new assistant director, and William Young, director of a band from Dallas, Texas, worked together, introducing students to new techniques and giving them a taste of what it is like to be a part of the one of the best marching bands in the nation.
At the end of the camp, students were given the opportunity to perform in front of family, friends and others - their entire performance is now on YouTube for the world to see.
In the course of five days, individual musicians became an ensemble, a band.
Pictured above are: Back row, from left: Austin Morales, Tyler Kearney, Deyshawn Longmire, Blake Albarez, Gage Blank and Brennon Coker; front row, from left: Santiago Rios, Jean-Luke Bernard, Dara Badon, Levi Smith, Chevy Wilbur and Mackenzie Melton (Not pictured: Justin Hebert)