‘We Got the Beat’

Holly Pond Bronco Band getting ready for fall

The Holly Pond band practices fundamentals under second-year band director Steven Porter. (Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – The Holly Pond Bronco Band finished its two-week fundamentals camp Friday and will start perfecting its halftime performance this week. In its second season under director Steven Porter, the band has 26 band members.

“Camp’s going well so far. We’re having great weather for it,” Porter told The Tribune last week. “Our halftime show will be ‘We Got the Beat.’ The songs will be ‘We Got The Beat’ by the Go-Go’s, ‘Rock It!’ by Heriberto Hancock, ‘Congo’ by Gloria Estefan and ‘Can’t Stop the Beat’ from the musical ‘Hairspray.’” 

Porter said he will have some new band members this marching season and looks to continue to build up the numbers.

“I have five new band members that didn’t march last year. Building the numbers is a process that takes time and dedication. We are working and trusting the process to grow the band members into dedicated, responsible and accountable members that will strive to do their best in whatever they choose to do,” Porter said.

He added, “I began my journey there in August of 2021. I started the second week of school and it’s been a whirlwind and roller coaster of emotions, but my wife and I were welcomed into the community with open arms and wonderful support from the band boosters.”

There are four seniors in the band: Hayden Ritchie (percussion section leader and snare player), Jeffrey Aspinwall (low brass section leader and tuba player), Ella Crider (color guard captain) and Kennedy Byer (color guard).

“He’s very intense. He loves what he does, and he takes everything with pride. He’s straightforward, tells you how it is and how to improve,” Ritchie said of Porter. “I learned to be a leader, how to be there for other people, how to be a good role model and set an example for everyone else.”

“He’s real fun at times, but he can also have those moments when everything feels more intense. He’s very straightforward and focused. He’s really good for this band. It’s exactly what we needed,” Aspinwall said. “We’ve learned discipline and respect. We’ve learned so much about music that it’s beneficial to everyday life.”

“He’s just passionate about what he does. He doesn’t slack off and he doesn’t make us slack off. He tells us what needs to be done and then we do it,” Crider said. “We’ve learned respect, discipline and how to have a great work ethic. He doesn’t give up on us, so we don’t give up on him.”

“He pushes us to do the best we can because he knows we’re capable of doing it. He never underestimates anybody,” Byer said. “I’ve learned discipline, marching, twirling and planks.”

Aspinwall said he feels blessed to be a part of a very special band at Holly Pond.

“I think band really inspires people… I think it’s really helped the people (who are) shy. It’s helped a lot of the people in the band because a lot of them are reserved, but the band has brought them out of their shell more and more throughout the years,” he said.

More than half of the band members are freshman, but the seniors have guided them and given them advice.

“Work hard, practice and don’t give up,” Crider said. 

“I’ve helped them get better at what they do. I’ve helped inspire them and encourage them to do what they can for the band,” Aspinwall said. 

“I’ve taught them how to play, how to march, be respectful and be there for others,” Ritchie said. 

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