Addison Bulldog Band gearing up for marching season

The Addison High School Bulldog Band practices marching fundamentals under the direction of Garrett McCurley. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

ADDISON, Ala. – Last week was marching and music fundamentals week for the Addison Bulldog Band. The band will have three weeks of band camp to prepare its halftime performance before school starts.

Fundamentals week is when the students learn the basics of the music, how to hold their instruments properly and how to march correctly. At the end of fundamentals week, the band has already learned its show music. The remaining weeks will be spent perfecting it.  

July 18- 22 will be sectionals week. Different days of the week will be designated for different sections of the band to practice. Monday will be low brass; Tuesday, flutes and trumpets; Thursday, saxophones and clarinets; and Friday, percussion. 

“They only come from 9-12 p.m., so that’s kind of a good week off, and then show week is the next week. That’s when we’re all day, every day,” said Addison Band Director Garrett McCurley.

This year’s show will feature music from the popular rock band Journey. McCurley said the theme is based on student input.

“They tell me kind of what they want to do, if they want to do rock, 80s music…,” he said. “I picked some songs and I said, ‘What do you think about this?’ because everything in this is student based, so I want them to feel included as much as possible.”

Addison High School Bulldog Band trumpet section members Grayson Whitlock, Lindsey Denney, Liam Spohr, Justin Byram and Noah Nail (Sara Gladney for the Cullman Tribune)

The 57-member band includes nine seniors and some students as young as fifth grade. That number is up from just 14 students McCurley taught when he first took over as band director four years ago.

“We don’t necessarily have a class period during school, so a lot of our learning time is eighth period or after-school practices,” he said. “During the summer here, we go over the full band, and I’m trying to teach each section individually. Then we’ll break off and those section leaders will relay what I say. It’s kind of a 50/50 deal where I’m giving information and they’re taking it and running with it.”

McCurley said all his students are playing their instruments exponentially better than when they first started band camp.

The Addison band has not yet been to a competition under McCurley’s direction, but he said he thinks this year the band may be ready to go. He’s had several who joined in his first year who have stuck with it over the four years and helped to teach the younger students. The band has grown enough that McCurley hopes to join the area’s other Class 1A bands at this year’s fall competitions.

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