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Band Camp 2014 - A Building Experience
August 20, 2014
After four days of solid rain at Slippery Rock University, the members of the OHS Marching Lion Band attending band camp there could have been building an ark.  Instead what they were building was Esprit de Corps.

“Band camp is important not only for the playing but to have a solid marching band,” noted Drumline Captain Zayn Dweik. “For a lot of freshmen, this is their first high school experience. You meet all these people. So when you go to the high school, it’s not such a scary place. You already know 139 other kids. It’s just amazing the sheer amount of people you know after this experience. School becomes a much more comfortable place.”

As a senior, Dweik has experienced that camaraderie building for four years. This year, he steps into the leadership role. And even the rain couldn’t dampen his enthusiasm.

“It’s my last year of band camp and it’s awesome!” he said. “You get to lead all these freshmen and you remember being in their shoes. It’s really nice being able to help them the way others helped you.”

Band camp 2014 marks Director Craig Kepner’s 34th year at Orange as well as his 35th band camp. Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night has stopped him before…and the rain wasn’t going to stop him now.

“It’s a special year because I graduated a really big senior class and the incoming freshman class is a big class but they have got some really big shoes to fill. So it’s a challenging year, but they are doing a fantastic job; they really are,” said Dr. Kepner.

“Band camp is where everything comes together!” said senior Eva Bogomolny, one of the Lionette captains. “We have a lot of talent and it’s really exciting to work together as a team.”

Dr. Kepner, along with his assistant Tim Yowell and Lionettes Advisor Cathy Jones, have lead the 118 musicians and 22 members of the Lionettes Drill Team through the paces each year at band camp. Students learn how to read drill charts, how to march, play and perform simultaneously, and how to create an amazing half-time and pre-game show. But most importantly, they learn teamwork. And with more than 30 years teaching at Orange, Kepner has taught not only hundreds of children the importance of ‘pride in team’ but many of their parents as well.

“It’s really cool to experience the same director as my Dad,” noted sophomore Sam Cooper whose father Dave Cooper ’83 , played the trumpet under Kepner’s direction. “We learned the same things and it’s cool to connect with him that way.”

Sophomore Ryan Kochis, whose mother, Laura (Thoms) Kochis ‘86, played the flute at OHS, felt the same.

“Dr. Kepner is very experienced, and he knows what he’s doing,” Ryan noted.

Coming up with 34 years of crowd-pleasing music is no easy task. This year the band will be performing a “Party Rock Show” including the Party Rock Anthem, Dance Again, a ‘Boogie Medley’ with Boogie Nights, Boogie Shoes, and Jungle Boogie, Happy, featuring the Lionettes ,and a Daft Punk Medley.

“I love the shows! It’s the best part!” effused senior Jordan Brown, one of the Lionette captains. “I’m excited to try to do my best in performance, consistently, in every show.”

“It’s been so much fun learning everything,” said ninth grader Julia Insler, who was selected for the Lionettes squad this year. “It has been rainy, but fun. It’s amazing being a part of a team that is so inclusive!”

“Everyone comes together as a band and learns all the movements, and it’s just a really good experience,” said ninth grader Meghan Simon, adding that she can’t wait to wear the “sparkly Lionettes uniform."

Whether it’s the uniforms, the music, or the drill designs that are most appealing, as senior Alisia Cameron noted, the key is that the audiences enjoy the shows.

“We work extra hard every day and Wednesday nights with additional Lionette rehearsals on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” she said. “We put so much effort into it, and we want a great outcome at the end and want to know that our work has been recognized.”

“These kids work really hard and they play and perform very well,” said Dr. Kepner. “It’s really worthwhile to watch what they do and appreciate all the time and effort they put into it.”

Future themes this year include plans for a Beatles show and perhaps a Led Zeppelin show. In one special performance, the high school marching band members will be joined on the field on September 12th by the seventh and eighth grade band students.

“It’s great for building camaraderie; it gets all the kids working together, plus they have a lot of fun,” said Dr. Kepner.

Even in the rain.

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To view all of the photos from Band Camp 2014, please go to our Orange Schools Facebook Page.
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