Motivation for marching
Classic City Sound offers life lessons in leadership, teamwork and community. It requires a huge intellectual and physical commitment to be a member of the band community. On top of six hours of practice each week, performances take place on Fridays during football games and competitions are on Saturdays.
“It takes a lot of time outside of school, but also time and energy during rehearsal, always being able to answer questions for people and focus all the time,” senior co-drum major Jane Michael said.
Aside from group practices and performances, the students also practice individually outside of school.
“I try to practice my regular band music or marching band music and conducting for about an hour to two everyday,” senior co-drum major Mary-Frances Beeson said.
Beyond the time commitment, the marching band also rehearses and performs in harsh weather. After school practices in the student parking lot are on the asphalt during some of Georgia’s hotter months.
“It’ll be very, very hot, typically. My freshman year I was in agony, I passed out twice,” Beeson said. “But it’s worth it.“
Classic City Sound provides the thrill of being on the big stage. Some people might find this spotlight intimidating, but for Beeson it’s second nature.
“I don’t know how to describe it. You just get this feeling when you’re out there. Like my brain clicks on and I just go, and when we stop performing my brain clicks back off,” Beeson said. “It’s like a space where you can be yourself.”
Along with the hours spent planning and practicing, Beeson says that overthinking doesn’t help.
“Second guessing myself is a big thing that I deal with,” Beeson said. “I’ve noticed this because you’re expected to know so much as a drum major.”
The marching band lost quantities of experienced musicians after graduation, causing them to have to adapt to a new environment of people.
“It’s a completely different dynamic because it’s majority rookies,” Michael said.
While this semester welcomes many new faces, the returning students have had to take on new responsibilities too.
Associate Marching Band Director Devin Driskell participated in marching band at his high school. His main instrument was trombone but he also played a variety of other wind instruments.
“I decided to major in music education instead of mechanical engineering,” Driskell said. “My trombone professor told me that if it’s something you want to do, you have to decide to go at it full force.”
After all these years he’s still listening to what his professor said.
“Even today as a teacher I still do that,” Driskell said. “It’s always worth it to not give up. Just keep pushing. . . I think performing can be really degrading, having everybody judging you sometimes. Just don’t give up, you have to practice.”
Beeson strives to take that kind of advice from Driskell herself, but she acknowledges that it’s still a learning process.
“It can get very stressful. It can get very annoying. You’ll want to quit, but I wanted to quit my freshman year and I am still here,” Beeson said.
With a demanding program like this one, communication is key.
“If you have ideas, share them. Even if your teachers shut it down, they’re gonna appreciate the fact that you still have the courage to share them,” Beeson said. “It’s really just about building communication with the band and band directors.”