Pride of Cove Band gets put through its paces

Cove Leader-Press

The sounds of the Copperas Cove High School Pride of Cove Band will soon fill the air for residents who live near the high school, after the band students have begun their summer Band Boot Camp in the parking lot next to the Lea Ledger Auditorium and band hall. 
The section leaders and the freshman band members got a start on their practicing on Monday and Tuesday before the band came together last Thursday to start preparing for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year’s marching season. 
The summer practice will run up to August 17, with the first day of school being August 18. The first home game for the CCHS Bulldawgs varsity football will be September 3, and the band will also be performing at the district’s Spirit Spectacular on September 16. 
Copperas Cove Junior High School Assistant Band Director Kenneth Marina was on hand to assist with the students as they were guided through breathing exercises and stretches by S.C. Lee Junior High’s band director Jolene Travis. 
“We’re kind of starting to get the ball rolling right now,” Marina said. “This is actually our first day out with full band members. It’s been really exciting. I think we’re taking advantage of the things that have happened in the past year, and we’re trying to make the most out of being together again making things, getting back to a sense of normalcy.”
Marina said that the students and staff alike are glad to have that normalcy. 
“There were a lot of question marks about last year, and we’re actually lucky enough that we were able to do a lot more than a lot of other schools in Texas and probably across the nation, and I think at this point, I think having the schedule, having things kind of more set in stone, having a show that’s going to be really, really fun and enjoyable to do- I think everybody’s kind of, there’s a sense of authenticity that we’re really excited for.”
This year’s show is not officially titled yet, but Marina did say that it centers on bees and will feature musical pieces like “Simple Gifts” and Queen’s “Killer Queen.” 
“It really kind of goes between a lot of classical things, and you’ll hear a lot of classical music, and then you’ll also hear a lot of like fun things like Queen,” Marina said. 
Marina said that even though restrictions have been eased, the main priority is putting the kids’ health and safety first. 
“The most important thing we want is a positive experience for these kids,” he said. “You know, I don’t think we’ve done our job if they aren’t enjoying themselves. That’s part about being an elective, just part about being part of a team is if you don’t have a positive experience, then what’s the point of being here, and I think they’re doing a really good job. The leadership’s doing a really good job, and the band staff at the high school is doing a really good job of really enforcing family and togetherness in that sense.” 
One of the drum majors this year, Allyson Sokolowski, is a junior and has been in band since the 6th grade, when she started playing the flute. 
“It’s a lot of work mentally for everyone to see you so highly,” Sokolowski said. “It’s really fun, but I really like the fact that I get to help out everyone in the band. I really enjoy talking to everyone and getting to know all the freshmen.”
Sokolowski said that she can remember back to her first day at the summer band practices. 
“I can recall my first day of summer band and everything I was feeling, how nervous I was talking to leadership and stuff, and even like vocalizing during practices, and everyone’s doing that, and I’m just so happy for them, especially the fact that they get a normal season this year,” Sokolowski said. “We didn’t get to do a summer band last year, at least not like this. It was two hours last year for a couple days, so I’m happy that they get this experience, and they get everything that I did my freshman year.”
Sokolowski said that being a drum major was not a goal she had when she first joined the band, but as time went by, she learned more about what drum majors did. 
“I started to look up to them more, and they always had like such a big impact on me, and I just wanted to be that for everyone else,” she added. 
Hannah Johnson is another drum major and is also a junior. She joined band in the 6th grade as well and plays the saxophone.  
Johnson said she wanted to be a drum major because of the leadership she had when she started in the CCHS band. She said she looked up to the drum majors her freshman year and wanted to be like them. 
“I wanted to be the type of person to say, ‘I’m here for you,’” Johnson said. “I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to show them what it’s like, and I wanted them to have the experience that I had because I had amazing leaders.”
Katie Pack is one of the new freshmen in the CCHS band. She will be playing the French horn and/or the mellophone.
“Playing the French horn, it’s really been my dream, and it’s really fun. I enjoy it,” Pack said. 
Pack said she was a little nervous about going into high school and being in the Pride of Cove band, but she is excited for it. 
“Now, that I’m here, it’s a little bit more like I don’t have to be perfect,” Pack said. “I understand that there’s experienced people that know I’m going to mess up, and they know that I’ve never done this before and so they are very understanding of my mistakes.”

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