Band takes first steps toward Big D
Just before noon Monday in Justin Love's music room at De Soto High School, the band of about 80 students marked its first day of band camp by whipping through numbers ranging from traditional marching songs to War's rock anthem "Low Rider."
It may be the fist day of band camp, but Love was prepared to hand out frank criticism.
"Percussion, you're not getting away with ugly sounds," Love said. "You are playing ten times too loud."
Five months from now, lessons learned early may echo in the heads of the band members as they play in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl.
Band camp is not the only activity in full swing for these students. When they are not practicing, they are actively involved in an assortment of fund-raising activities to make the planned trip to Dallas a reality. Although many events are planned to raise the necessary funds, that doesn't mean parents and students aren't brainstorming other ideas to come up with the next big event.
"We're still thinking of ideas to do along the way in order to fund the trip," freshman flutist Alex Prosser said. "We'd like to find activities that we can have fun doing, but in reality we need to do whatever in order to provide the money to go."
So far, the community response to the trip has been surprising. During the weekend, a car wash and flea market booth netted more than $1,000. With a golf tournament fund-raiser scheduled for next week, the band hopes to continue working toward the goal of raising $450 per member. Upperclassmen are already doing their best to persuade younger students to stay involved.
"As an upperclassman, you try and make sure everyone is contributing," said senior drum major Kody Willnauer. "If we stay involved and raise enough money then you make it a 'free trip' in a sense. On top of that, it's a chance to travel and represent the De Soto community on television."
The Cotton Bowl will not be the band's only performance in Dallas. In addition to the halftime show spectacular, they will be marching in a parade the morning of the game. The band will also be competing in a music festival judged by a panel of national judges with the opportunity to collect awards along the way.
"I've never been to Texas -- a lot of us are going for the first time -- so you know this is a big deal," junior trumpet section leader Gary Kearns said. "There was a chance to go to France, but because of everything going on in the world, I guess they chose Dallas instead. We're happy with either one, really."
The golf tournament fund-raiser will be Aug. 16 at Oak Country Club Golf Course, with the first tee times scheduled for 7:30 a.m. The idea was proposed to Justin Love after a similar golf tournament netted a significant amount of money for a local hockey team. Other fund-raising efforts will include food sales, more car washes, newspaper sales and booths set up at special events in town.
"The fund-raising is no problem for us because we get it done on weekends," sophomore Carrie Buser said. "We realize if we don't do everything then we'll have to pay out of pocket to travel. This is our only chance to take a trip with our classmates and spend time with people you wouldn't necessarily have a chance to spend time with."