Marching Band Battles Heat

“I would have to say this summer is definitely the hottest that it’s ever been since I’ve marched,” says senior Erik Whitcomb

It’s the middle of July, schools out, and it’s hot. For more than 100 Rock Island School students that can mean only one thing: band camp.

“We start in the morning from eight o’clock to about noon, and then we come back at night from five to nine,” says Whitcomb.

Every summer, rain or shine, the Rocky Marching Band takes over the school’s south parking lot. Learning dozens of formations, keeping time, and making music in the process. It’s not easy, and our current heat wave is making it even tougher.

“When you come into camp and it’s only going to be 88 degrees, we say awesome. When you come in and it’s going to be above 90 you thing ‘ugh.’ Then you come into this week and you think I hope no one dies. You don’t really think that but you wonder how many will be going off to the shade,” says band director Pete Carlin.

Instructors keep a close eye on everyone, even giving students nutritional advice, stay rested, avoid heavy meals, and keep hydrated.

“Basically we drink lots of water,” says flutist Kayla Jackson.

For every half hour they practice students are given a ten minute break to cool down.

“We have to utilize those breaks. We go sit in the shade for a little bit, then we come back and hit it hard again,” says Jackson.

Pounding the pavement in the middle of summer may seem more like punishment than pleasure. But despite the heat each of these high schoolers is here because they want to be. This band camp entirely voluntarily.

“They drive you guys pretty hard… They do. But it’s worth it. Definitely worth it,” says Whitcomb.

Click here for more news from Rock Island and West Rock Island County

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