|Working for a perfect score|
|October 07, 2016 Jerry Purvis|
Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Gering Director of Bands Randy Raines instructs members of the Gering High School Band during field practice early Tuesday morning as the group works to perfect its routine in preparation for the upcoming Homecoming activities and the Old West Weekend band festival.
The Gering High School Band has an extra busy week coming up during Homecoming, Oct. 10-14. Beginning with a parade through downtown Gering on Oct. 11, then a halftime performance at the Friday night football game on Oct. 14, band members are working hard to perfect their performances. All that effort won’t go wasted after Homecoming though. The annual competition, Old West Weekend band festival is the next day, on Saturday, when bands from around the region arrive to take part in a 10 a.m. parade through downtown Scottsbluff. Several of the bands then take part in a field competition at 1 p.m. at Bearcat Stadium.
Randy Raines, Director of Bands for the Gering Schools, said it’s both a challenge and balancing act to get in enough rehearsal time when some student athletes are on the road competing with their sports teams.
“This is really a nice bunch of kids,” Raines said. “They learn all the drills quickly for a group of 75 kids. We may be one of the larger bands competing at the Old West Band Weekend.”
Raines said all of the high school band’s performances at home football games have been preparing them for both Homecoming performances and the Old West competition. “After the parade on Tuesday, we head for the pep rally and perform a few songs there,” he said. “We’ll have the entire halftime for our field show at Friday’s football game.”
Raines said he’s also happy with the numbers of kids participating in the band program. High school band members are students in grades 10-12, and 42 of the sophomores have carried over from last year’s freshman band. This year’s freshman band has 43 members.
“The carryover has been amazing and they’re very easy to work with,” he said. “I’m a more traditional director from the 1980s and 1990s. That’s just the way I do things. Ninety percent of my concentration is on the band’s sound – how well they perform the music. That’s my first priority.”
Raines said this year’s theme for the band at the Old West Weekend field competition is movie themes by composer John Williams. Featured will be themes from the movies “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “Superman.”
“I’m also getting away from using whistles,” he said. “A lot of bands still use whistles between songs. But I’m going to start off with a whistle then let the band keep going in a continuous performance.”