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‘This is War’: MCHS Band prepares for season

MCHS Band saxophone section practices music outside during band camp. Staff Photo by Emily Pitts

The war is on for McNairy Central band director Ryan Foret and his band of 97 high school students, as they prepare for this year’s marching season.

This year’s show is Japanese-themed and titled “This is War.” It depicts a battle between the Japanese and the British, the same battle that is depicted in the popular movie “The Last Samurai.” 

“The first song is entitled ‘The Training,’” said Foret. “It’s where they prepare themselves for battle. The second movement of the show is called ‘Meditation,’ and then the third movement is called ‘The Final Melee,’ where they actually have the battle itself.”

The schedule for band camp this year is very busy, according to Foret. Last week, the band held a camp for new members and band leaders, including section leaders, captains, and field commanders. Band camp for all members began on July 18 and will last until Friday.

There are some major changes in schedule to this year’s band camp. The addition of new lights to the band field, which the students and Band Boosters raised money for last year, allows the band to get in extra practice time after the sun goes down.

 “We go in three blocks: We do a morning block which is from 8-12, where we work our marching fundamentals. Then we go to lunch for about an hour and a half, and we do music from 1:30-4:30. We work music independently, by section, and in groups. We have supper, and we come back and do drill on the field from 6-9 at night, now that we have lights. We are thankful to the Band Boosters for that.”

Despite the grueling heat, the band is still trying to have as much fun as possible by organizing band spirit days, such as “hat day” or “look-a-like day.”

Because the band is much larger this year, plans for the competition schedule are being carefully made. With 97 people marching in the show, a third bus may be required for transportation to competitions, which will cost a lot more money. Right now, the band is planning on attending a Gibson County contest, the West Tennessee Small Bands Championship in Trenton, Tenn., and the Division II state competition in Nashville, although it is likely that they will attend many more.

The MCHS Band looks forward to another good year. The band has ranked in the top ten bands at the Division II state competition for five years in a row, ranking as high as fourth at one time.

“Goals are as always: get better, have fun, love what we do,” said Foret. “One of our main goals is whatever we start, we’re going to finish. Everything we do this year, no matter what it is, if it’s just one little baby step forward, we’re going to make sure that we go all the way to the end of it and we finish it.”

The band will host an exhibition for family and friends to see what’s been accomplished at band camp on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. You can catch “This is War” at most MCHS football games during halftime, or at competitions throughout the season.

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