CHS band plays on

CHS marching band member Jennifer Sturm Plays horn  during marching band practice at CHS Thursday. photo by Ric Gunn

CHS marching band member Jennifer Sturm Plays horn during marching band practice at CHS Thursday. photo by Ric Gunn

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Members of the Blue Thunder Marching Band were back in step Thursday afternoon, marching past a difficult week.

"Everybody plays," instructed band director Robert Brooks during rehearsal. "Horns are up. You've got to nail it."

Despite a neighbor's complaint to police forcing the band to end Tuesday's rehearsal an hour early, Brooks said the community support has helped students hit a high note.

"The real positive outcome is the kids know they're supported by their community," he said. "And it makes me feel good, too."

He said he received several phone calls in support of the band and was stopped several times by people extending well wishes.

"When they're saying they support me, I know they're really saying they support these kids," he said. "I pass it all on to them."

Drum major Samantha Matranga, 17, has been in the band all four of her high school years. She said she regrets having lost practice time but is sure the beat will go on at Carson High School.

"We don't want to make anybody mad, we're just trying to go out there and work," she said. "We're progressing. We're just going to have to work really hard to get where we need to be."

During a meeting with school officials and the neighbor who complained about the noise, Brooks agreed to move the band onto the football field for the Monday and Tuesday evening practices, which run from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The practices had been held in the northwest parking lot of the school where students have marked their positions in white shoe polish on the black asphalt.

"It's not going to work as well, but that was our agreement and I have every intention of honoring that agreement," Brooks said. "It's a compromise so you're not going to be totally happy with it. But I'm happy with it.

"They're our neighbors and it's important to get along."

He said switching practice locations may set them further behind schedule in learning their competition show. One way to make up the time, he said, would be to secure an equipment trailer where the large instruments, such as the xylophone and glockenspiel, could be stored near the field instead of having to spend nearly an hour every day moving them.

However, the band cannot afford to purchase the trailer, which is in the tune of about $2,000.


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