And despite the heat and humidity, and because of that legacy, the teens make it out to Clinton High School during their summer break to begin the hard work that prepares them for the upcoming band season.
It all starts with band camp, held last week for those who will be part of the Dark Horse marching band.
The marching band runs on knowledge from the upperclassmen and excitement and passion from the freshman, or rookies, most will tell you.
“We will go to four or five competitions this year, with the theme of our show being Triple Point, which deals with ice, water and steam,” said Mark Cashin, who will be entering his second year as band director for Clinton High.
Cashin also noted that other than class-time practice, band members will only get together to practice on Monday nights, from 6 until 9 p.m. “We only practice about half as much as the other bands, but we still expect the same result. The kids are great, they come ready to learn no matter how hot it is outside” stated Cashin.
Chris Nelson, who plays football and is the saxophone section leader in the band, talked about his commitment to the band.
“It’s hard doing football and band at the same time; I thank the band for being flexible so I can do both activities,” he said, acknowledging the fact that he is devoted to both activities.
Many schools restrict students to being just in band, but Clinton is different. It could be the school spirit, or the legendary band directors that have came through, or just pure determination but the Dark Horses compete and win against schools that practice double the amount of time and have strictly band students and music majors in them.
Connor Day, one of the two drum majors for this year’s band, is going into her senior year at Clinton, and he’s ready for a competitive year.
“I’ve always wanted to be a drum major; it’s a step up from being a section leader, and it has been tough, but I am ready to step up to the plate and help others, because this program and this band is all about helping others.”
Last year Day was part of the band that won the 1A-2A Grand Champion prize at Cape Fear High School, where this year’s band will be returning to defend its championship.
“My senior year is going by way too fast and it is going to be hard to leave such a great program.” stated Day of her last year in what she calls a remarkable group.
But whether a veteran band member or a newcomer to the group, every student seems excited about the upcoming season and a chance to play with a band that, for them, has legendary status.
Freshman marcher Hope Jania said, “I’m really excited about this year; it’s a lot of team work; others depend on you, but at the same time you depend on others. I plan to march all four years that I am in high school.”
The band is made up of 19 colorguard members, nine percussion, 19 brass and 24 winds, which makes a grand total of 66.
“Even though we are a small group, we have a ton of potential,” Cashin said. “I think we are set for an excellent year. This group has a very good work ethic, just as good as the 2007 marching band that won two Grand Champion prizes.”
The marching band is graduating eight seniors this year, which Cashin said, “I want them to have a very memorable and positive season.”
Cashin also pointed out that if it wasn’t for the sponsors and businesses that support the Clinton Marching Band they couldn’t be where they are.
“We are selling Band Cards, which give you a discount at local restaurants and help us fund our trips. If you would like to purchase one contact me or a band member.”
Each year the legacy of Clinton High bands past is passed down to the next generation of performers. Every class puts their own mark in the trophy case and hold memories of their time in the band close to their heart, they said.