Cold Springs marching band members play music from their halftime show during band camp at Cold Springs High School.
COLD SPRINGS – Band camps are in full swing throughout Cullman County, and The Tribune caught up with the Cold Springs marching band on Thursday on the campus of Cold Springs High School (CSHS), where William Johnson, band director at CSHS, and the students are gearing up for an exciting year.
“We have a lot of dedicated kids, a lot of kids that are young, that are willing to work hard to make the band the best that it possibly can be,” said Johnson. “We're a little bit smaller this year, I have around 45 members, but they're really dedicated. They're working hard. I think it's going to be an exciting year.”
Samantha James, CSHS assistant band director and Cold Springs Elementary music teacher, said that although the students are young, they've had a very successful camp this year.
“We have a lot of really young students this year,” said James. “We have six seniors and maybe three times that many middle schoolers, so they're doing really well. The group has a really great attitude about everything and they're really quick learners. A lot can be said for attitude.”
CSHS Color Guard Director Bree Harbinson shared that despite challenges, the students have progressed remarkably.
“A lot of people graduated and went to other sports, went to other activities, went to college, things like that. The color guard only had one member return this year, (the) drum line is rebuilding, it’s just a great group of young kids this year,” explained Harbinson, “It's been great so far. This is one of the fastest moving productive band camps we’ve had in a long time. At this point we normally don't have as many songs done and as many on the field, and we nearly have the whole show on the field right now.”
Fans and family members alike can expect a more modern take from the band’s halftime show this year, according to Johnson.
“This year, I guess you could say it's kind of a throwback show to a certain degree, but it's not like a 50s or 60s show,” said Johnson. “It's more of a millennial show, I guess, which is what people are calling it. We're doing 'Bye Bye Bye' by NSYNC, 'Hit Me Baby, One More Time' by Britney Spears, 'Livin' La Vida Loca' by Ricky Martin and then 'Survivor' by Destiny's Child.
Johnson added, “I think it's going to be pretty much high-energy to be honest with you. I think it's going to be really crowd pleasing, because I think most of those who are going to be in the stands will know these songs; they've heard them a lot of the times when they were younger. So I think it'll be something that they'll be able to enjoy and maybe even sing along with.”
The CSHS band has more exciting performances ahead of them after marching season.
“After football season we'll be doing the Christmas concert and we'll be doing the Veterans Day performance,” said Johnson. “Hopefully we can take a spring trip, never guaranteed with that, but it'd be fun if we could reward them for their hard work, and of course we'll prepare for the spring concert and things of that nature.”
CSHS band boosters helped the band out in a big way this year, according to James.
“A couple of years ago we lost a student, Rhianna Busbee, in a car accident and this year our boosters have worked really hard to raise scholarship money in her name,” said James. “The band boosters have paid for four different students’ band camp fees. So their uniforms are covered, their meals are covered, their bus fees, everything was covered. The band boosters have been doing fundraisers all summer long and raised a lot of money.”
Johnson also expressed his appreciation for the band boosters, families and the local community.
“I'd just like to thank our band boosters and our band parents and the community of Cold Springs for the great support that they've shown to the band this year and years past,” said Johnson. “It's been great to have a community that is so supportive and helps the band out. I'm very grateful for the work and the encouragement that they give the kids every day.”