Although smaller in number, Carson High School's Blue Thunder Marching Band is not lacking in spirit.
"It's dominated by underclassmen, but everybody's working very hard," said Annie Scott, the president and one of only four seniors in the band club. "I think we're going to be a really good band this year."
The 75 band members spent the last two weeks in their annual band camp at the high school.
"Our main objective is to prepare for marching season," said director Chuck Dewees. "We're learning much of our show music and marching routines before school starts."
These weeks before school are more important than ever because there will be no official marching band class during school hours this year. Band practice will compete with sports, part-time jobs and other extracurricular activities for after-school time.
"This way, we'll only have those students who want to be there," Dewees said. "We only want the students who are dedicated to having a really good marching band. They're in there because that's what they like doing."
Drum major Rachel Pesis, 17, said last year was a little difficult because they were adjusting to a new band director and anticipates this year will be successful.
"This year, everybody knows what to expect," she said. "We have better student leadership this year, too."
Senior Lisa Wentworth, 18, a trombone player, said the camp helped to prepare them for the coming year.
"I think we've done a lot in a few days," she said. "We've progressed a lot."
One of the highlights of the year will come when the band plays in this year's Holiday Festival Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 29.
The band will leave Carson City on Dec. 26 and will participate in various activities from competitions and rehearsals to dances and a tour of Sea World. The members will be treated to a day at Disneyland on Dec. 30, the day after their half-time performance.
"Getting to go to the Holiday Bowl is like a dream come true," Scott said. "Money is the big issue now. We're trying to come up with enough to make the trip."
The band will hold a barbecue fund-raiser tonight at the football field. It will be $5 a plate and the band will perform.
The marching band plays at all football and basketball games. Members perform at the school assemblies and they compete in competitions throughout the state. The band will also play in the Nevada Day Parade in Carson City.
Although the band works together as a team, each band member brings an individual motivation to the group.
"It's really easy to get a scholarship with the French horn," said Jono Pesis, 16.
IF YOU GO
What: Barbecue and band performance
When: Tonight at 6
Where: Carson High School football field
Cost: $5 per plate