The heat was on at Band Camp 2015…and not just because of the temperatures! With a new Orange High School band director, assistant band director, Lionettes advisor and a slew of new incoming freshmen, the pressure was on to keep things cool.
“Our first band camp together went really well,” noted OHS Marching Lion Band Director Mr. Brandon DuVall. “The 23 seniors in the band provided strong leadership throughout the week. The band was cooperative, respectful, and fun to be with. The entire week went even better than I could have hoped!”
The five-day annual pilgrimage to Slippery Rock University occurred at the end of July…when many students were still deeply entrenched in their summer vacations. The students and Marching Lion staff all came together to spend part of their summer vacation with ‘their other family.’
“Band camp is all about family time within the band family, occurring with minimal distractions from the outside world,” he said. “We get to have three practices a day, with everyone in attendance, eat our meals together, have social/down time together, and most importantly lay the foundation for an entire season of marching band.”
DuVall comes to Orange this year after 14 years in the Cuyahoga Falls District where he worked with elementary and middle school bands, along with marching band, concert bands, basketball band and jazz bands. Leading the OHS band in its week-long camp at Slippery Rock University this past week marked DuVall’s first “away” band camp since his senior year in high school.
“As a new staff member to the District, I cannot tell you
how valuable band camp was for me! I was able to get to know so many of our great students and feel much more comfortable with the program,” DuVall said. “I might have needed band camp even more than the students this year!”
For the students, band camp offers the opportunity to get a jump start on the field design and music for the first show. The band performs at half-time at all football games and at pre-game at all home games. This year’s first show will be a “Fall Out Boy Show” including the songs “Centuries,” “Uma Thurman,” and “Light ‘Em Up”. The second selection features the 22-member Lionettes Drill Team in a dance written by the senior leaders. “Light ‘Em Up” includes a percussion feature and an opportunity for the entire band, including 113 instrumentalists, to put down their instruments and dance. The first performance will be on August 28th at the home game against East Tech.
A second show featuring songs by Bruno Mars (including the Billboard chart topper “Uptown Funk”) will be developed in mid-season. Both shows were selected because of the popularity of those artists with the students.
“We want the music they perform to be as relevant and exciting as possible,” noted DuVall. “Eventually we will visit some retro shows and step outside the box.”
The 2015 Marching Lion Band will also be stepping outside the box in other ways…a television appearance on Fox 8 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is scheduled for September 4th, and the entire band will perform at Cedar Point during “Halloweekends” festivities on October 11th.
“Our students will get to enjoy their day at the park for free before and after the parade down the Midway because they are featured performers,” DuVall said. “We think it is important to get the band out there performing as much as possible. I would like to gradually increase our involvement in relevant musical experiences around the area. It is exciting to be able to expose our students to new opportunities.”
DuVall noted that those opportunities have been made much more accessible because of the high quality of the program established by Dr. Craig Kepner, who retired earlier this year after 34 years at the helm.
“Dr. Kepner did an outstanding job of preparing the students for a new band director,” DuVall said, grateful to be in continued contact with Dr. Kepner. “I feel very fortunate to have such a valuable resource to help me lead these children forward. Dr. Kepner is a class act, and I feel humbled to lead the program that he led for so many years.”
DuVall is being assisted this year by Mr. Jacob Robinson who will be with the high school band year-round, along with teaching fifth grade band at Moreland Hills Elementary and general music at Brady Middle School. Robinson was previously in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst District. Mrs. Staci Vincent ‘83 is the new Lionettes Coach. Vincent, a former Lionette, works in the Orange Schools Communications Department and has been involved with drill teams, guard and auxiliary programs around the country for more than 30 years. Assisting with the percussion line is Logan Margolis ’13, former OHS Marching Lion drum captain and member of the Syracuse University band.
“Band camp this year was great!” said enthusiastic junior Sydney Levine, who is in her third year as a Lionette. “Getting taught by different people this year made my experience as a Lionette much more memorable! I loved getting to know everyone!”
"This year's band camp was certainly a new experience, as it marked our band's
transition to leadership under Mr. DuVall, our first new band director in about 30 years," said senior Simon Wieder. "Change certainly isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but such is the nature of progress. And though I will greatly miss Doc (Dr. Kepner), I'm very excited to see what new things Mr. DuVall will bring to the table this marching season."
One of the changes the community will see is a new band shirt design complete with a listing on the back that includes the “2015-2016 Tour Schedule” for the band. DuVall hopes to roll out a new band website soon that will help keep everyone well-informed of the band’s activities. Both students and staff look forward to an exciting year and encourage the entire community to come out and support the band program through Patronaires and audience participation.
“We are like a big family, and many of the things that make a great sports team make a great band: dedicated student leadership, a sense of being part of the whole, accountability to others, and the idea that we can accomplish more as a group than any one individual can accomplish on his/her own. Band members and Lionettes take pride in the work they put into learning their instrument, marching, and performing. The band is an excellent representation of our school,” effused DuVall. “Band is AMAZING.”
To view the entire photo album from Band Camp 2015,
please check out our Orange Schools Facebook page by clicking here.