GRC marching band ready for 2019 season

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The George Rogers Clark Marching Band is gearing up for the 2019 season.

The band finished its final week of band camp Friday, Band Director Michael Payne said this year’s season is an exciting one.

For the first time, the band will have access to a turf field for practices.

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“Marching bands almost exclusively perform on turf fields,” Payne said. “We have never had our own to practice on. We are incredibly excited to have access to the new stadium for rehearsals and performances. This will help greatly with our confidence and preparation.”

This year’s marching band season began back in April with conditioning camps for returning members and with interview auditions for new members. Payne said they also selected new leadership during April through four weeks of training and clinics.

Throughout the summer, students learned the fundamentals of marching before returning for band camp in late July.

“This year’s competition show is called “EDGE” and features many plays and interpretations of the ideas of edges, both literally (sharp looking props) and figuratively (being on edge),” Payne said.

“Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks, “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga, and “Close to the Edge” by YES are a few of the recognizable songs that audiences will hear throughout the eight-minute production.

The band’s membership also continues to grow; this year, there are 30 graduating seniors.

“The band has 108 members, the largest band we have fielded in about eight years,” Payne said. “It’s nice to finally break 100 members with the marching band, especially since we are in the same class as the largest schools/bands in the state. We do have quite a few seniors this year. As the band continues to get larger, this will hopefully become the new normal. We need their leadership to take us to state championships.”

GRC is also bringing back its GRC Invitational band contest on Oct. 12.

“GRC hosted a band contest for many years, known as the GRC Invitational,” Payne said. “With the new stadium, we will be bringing this tradition back. 10-16 bands from across central and eastern Kentucky are expected to perform at our event. Judges will include experts from the marching activity, including those with significant experience in high school and college bands, and drum and bugle corps. Jeff Hood, former GRC director (’84-’95) will be one of the judges.”

The band is looking for sponsors as well as alumni to help work the event. Payne said he also hopes the community shows out to support GRC. Tickets are $10 at the door.

“It really is amazing,” he said.

Payne said marching band is a unique experience, one that can only be appreciated by those who have done it.

“What the community sees on Friday night or in a parade on Main Street is only a snapshot of the hours of hard work and perseverance that go into the production,” Payne said. “Band is family, and for several of our students, it provides the most stability they have in their lives. We take that very seriously, and do everything we can to make sure every kid can do this, regardless of their background, and be held to a high standard. We strive for excellence every day.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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