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Going Plus One

Where discipline leads to being at attention with an itch

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The band is the first thing many freshmen hear when they arrive at LHS on the first day and the last thing the seniors hear when they walk across the graduation stage. The band is the theme song to the students’ high school career.

When marching, each band member must go plus one, or take an extra step, to point themselves in the right direction. Mr. Stewart has pushed this lesson off of the field and into the hallways of Lebanon High School. Every year begins the same for the band: band camp, the beginning of the marching band season. During band camp, the new marchers, the Freshmen, learn how to roll step, drag step (walking backward on their toes), left and right slides, left and right flanks, transitions, and other important basics.

“Our Tuesday evening rehearsals have been almost entirely music-focused, which will hopefully lead to our sound and musicality being well ahead of where it has been in the past,” said Mr. Stewart, Band Director.

Although band camp is usually only 5 days long, this year it lasted 2 weeks. The band has also decided to focus their evening rehearsals on the music rather than the marching aspect of marching band. This year the band has chosen “Coral and Shaker Dance”, “Nessun Dorma”, “The Hut on Chicken Legs (Baba Yaga)”, and “Russian Christmas Music” as the music for the four movements of their show.

“This year we are focusing more heavily on music and fundamental marching than we have the past few years,” Stewart said.

Also different this year, the band has no props on the field. Instead, they have solo boxes, boxes that can raise up soloists so they can be heard. These boxes are not considered props by judges.

“We don’t have any props or a “story” to go along with the show, so the students really must play and march well,” Stewart said.

Last year, the prop was a mobile playground set that the color guard used to set the theme, “Games”. This year to set the theme, “Encore”, the band is doing it old school and playing a song that is part of the band’s history.

“So far this year the show has come together very well.  We really like the music and are seeing good things on the field from the drill as well.  We are hoping to clean up the drill over the next couple of weeks and add some little things to really make the show into something special,” Stewart said.

Football games are regarded as the dress rehearsal for the Marching band, especially before a big competition. As a tradition, the band goes to the Carthage Maple Leaf Festival, where last year they won the sweepstakes award and the number one spot in the finals, even though they didn’t perform because of weather. This year the band is going to Carthage, Valhalla, and Reeds Spring.

“I think we have a chance to do well at all three of the competitions we are attending this year.  Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but if the band prepares and performs the way they are capable of, I think we will have a good year.  As I always tell the band though, the number on the trophy means nothing to me in the end, as long as we go out and give the best performance we can,” Stewart said.

The Valhalla Marching Festival is held at Parkview High School. Each band is critiqued by 6 judges, one judge for each of the following categories: Music Performance, Music Effect, Visual Performance, Visual Effect, GE, Percussion and Auxiliary. In the preliminaries, the bands will be grouped by the size instead of the school classification. On October 6, 2018, the Valhalla marching festival will be the first marching competition for Lebanon marching band.

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