Hanceville Bulldog Band preparing ‘Star-Crossed’ halftime performance

Hanceville Bulldog Band (Hanceville High School / Facebook)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The Hanceville Bulldog Band participated in its final days of band camp last week. Beginning the first week with rookie camp, then holding percussion and auxiliary camp, the band finished its third week with entire band in marching rehearsals.

Director Jesse James said the theme of the year is “Star-Crossed” featuring modern pop songs “Shivers” by Ed Sheeran, “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars, “Beggin’” by Måneskin and “Fix You” by Coldplay. James said he picked songs the band students knew and liked, and the audience will be familiar with.

The band has 55 members, the largest group in recent years. Rookies make up almost half that, with 23 students.

“They’ve been absolutely incredible,” James said. “This is one of the hardest working rookie groups that we’ve had come through the program.”

He said the seniors and section leaders have been instrumental in teaching the new students. “They play a huge part in molding our rookies into being the future of the program. They act more as mentors than they do instructors and teachers- just someone that the kids can rely on to be there for them to help them out if they need anything. That’s one thing we’ve been really trying to push with our student leaders is building that relationship with those rookies.”

Senior Ramses Garcia is the new drum major this year.

James said of Garcia, “We had our auditions in the spring and he’s been working non-stop for the program just making sure that we have everything we need, just going above and beyond. Anything I ask him to do, or I ask the band to do, he’s the first one there.”

He continued, “It feels like this year we are off to a much further start than we ever have been. We’re progressing a lot faster than we have the last couple of years.”

James said each of the students have been working quickly to learn their individual parts. “They’re just nose to the pavement. It’s been hard to get them to slow down for a second,” he laughed.

Hanceville Bulldog Band practicing marching drills (Hanceville High School / Facebook)

Like some other area directors, James said COVID-19 put a damper on his band’s ability to practice together and for students to learn as much as they could.

“In the band world, it’s hard to do band online with us having to be as spread out as we were having to be,” he said. “Last year we started getting a little more normalcy, so we were able to compete a little bit, and it just got their fire brewing. Now they’ve got all that COVID stuff behind them and they’re raring to go.”

The band will be attending Chief Ladiga Marching Band Festival at Piedmont High School, the Pride of Hayden Marching Festival and the Coldwater Classic Marching Competition at Deshler High School. It will host the 31st Annual Mud Creek Marching Festival Oct. 22.

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