If you don’t think band is challenging, try playing and marching with a tuba in the hot sun like Marble Falls High School band members Nate Richards, George Jackson, Kyle Lawson and Gareth Corely.
DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — They get to the band hall at about 8 a.m. starting the first week of August, and with the exception of a maybe an hour for lunch, Marble Falls High School marching band members don’t roll out of the hall for home until about 7 p.m.
“It’s a second home,” said band president Sydney Kelley.
She and drum majors Kimberly Aguilar and sister Delaney Kelley laugh when they realize they probably spend more time at the band hall during the early weeks of August than at home. But they are OK with that.
“I think that’s what keeps everyone so focused and supportive,” Sydney Kelley said. “We speak of this being a family, yeah, and I know that’s something everyone says, but it really is true of the band this year.”
Aguilar went further.
“The band hall, it’s like our safe place,” she said. “Everyone here, they care for each other. We really do, even beyond band. This is a place, a family, where we’ll help each other out whether it’s a band thing or something else.”
And that atmosphere is one of the reasons the student leaders say this year is one of the best starts the band has had in recent years. Everything, from the band members’ work ethic and attitude to the music selection, has fallen into place for a potentially phenomenal year.
Band director Brad Behrens also noted the sense of excitement as the students began showing up in late July and early August.
“We’re looking forward to this new year,” he said. “We’re excited about the new band region we’re in, and we’re excited about the new football district we’re in. Yeah, there are some longer trips (to out-of-town games), but we really expect to have a great year.”
The band has begun tackling the music and formations for halftime shows and marching contests. Usually, the biggest challenge is getting incoming freshmen and new band members up to speed on combining playing the music with marching, but all the students face that test this year.
“We’ve changed our marching style a bit this year,” Behrens said. “So everyone, even the upperclassmen, have to learn some new things in the way we march.”
Despite those changes, Behrens said everyone has jumped in wholeheartedly.
“It’s been amazing,” the band director said. “The kids have really just worked so hard. And they’re really excited about this music.”
The name of this year’s show is “Kaleidoscope.”
“It has three movements and just is a showcase of color and sound,” Behrens said. “I guess the best way to describe it is it’s just like looking through a kaleidoscope.”
This one, however, combines colors and music into an amazing experience. Though this isn’t a year the Marble Falls High School band can advance to the Texas University Interscholastic League state marching contest (the UIL alternates years schools, based on enrollment, can advance), the band directors and students are still focused on performing their best on the field.
“We’re going to go out there and play to the best of our abilities,” Sydney Kelley said. “And we’re always going to be looking for ways to get better.”
Delaney Kelley said everything is in place for a strong year for the band.
“Everybody knows what they have to do, and we’re all really working hard,” she said. “We have a really good group of freshmen this year who are very driven.”
Even if someone struggles with the marching or music, Aguilar said, another band member is there to pick them up.
“I think that’s what is so great about band, especially ours, we help each other,” she said. “It’s about being a family.”
The three student leaders, along with the third drum major, Rebecca Faehnle, have one request from the community.
“Our community really doesn’t notice the band,” Aguilar said. “But we’re here, and we’re working hard. We just want people to come out and see us.”
The two Kelleys nod in agreement.
The marching band performs during the football halftimes, but the public has two opportunities to see them before the first game Aug. 26. On Aug. 11, the band will be at Meet the Mustangs, which starts at 7 p.m. at Mustang Stadium, 2001 Mustang Drive; and Aug. 18 at a free concert from 5:30-6:30 p.m. to the practice field behind the band hall at the high school, 2101 Mustang Drive. Burgers will be available. The concert was originally scheduled for Johnson Park but was moved due to the rain-soaked grounds.