The annual Dawson County High School two-week Summer Band Camp wrapped up last Friday at Rock Creek Park. Nearly 65 Dawson County High School
students attended the marching band practice-camp this year.
“We have the summer camp to get an early start on learning the half-time routines and drill sets,” said Dawson County High School Band Director Joel Robinson.
Robinson has led band camp for the last 13 years for Dawson County High School.
“I love music and band. It’s rewarding to teach the kids how to do it,” said Robinson.
The Dawson County High School marching band will perform on Friday nights at every varsity football game and also at local parades throughout the year.
During the two-week camp, high school students practiced from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with only an hour lunch break each day.
“What dedication these kids have. They deserve a little recognition,” said Bonnie Warne, mother of Kimi Warne, 17, a clarinet player in the marching band.
“This is basically my whole life right now,” said Rachel Bettis, 15, who plays the flute and piccolo for the local high school marching band.
Bettis has been a part of school bands for five years and has been with the Dawson County High School marching band for the last two years.
“It gives me a feeling of community,” explained Bettis.
A love of music and the social component are what draws most of the band members to this camp each summer.
“Music is a big part of our lives. We have a lot in common with each other,” said Caleb Faille, 17, the marching band’s drum major.
“It’s also a great way to network with people for our future careers,” he added.
“It’s fun because we actually get to play music and make great friends all at the same time,” said Valerie Jones, a saxophone player for the marching band.
While socializing and bonding with others who have similar interests is a motivator for many of the band camp members, the sense of accomplishment is the highlight of the experience.
“It’s such a great feeling to go to a competition and see that all our hard work isn’t a waste,” said Sean O’Keeffe, a trumpet player and band captain for the marching band.
“All this hard work and practicing in the hot sun everyday really pays off once we start performing,” he added.
After two-weeks of practicing in the heat daily, Robinson decided to give the marching band a day-off and spend the last day of camp at Veteran’s Memorial Park for a picnic.
The marching band is an extracurricular activity at the high school.
The band travels to competitions and festivals throughout the year and is just one part of Dawson County’s growing music program.