By Greg Finan, Jr.
Since last spring, members of the Band of Gold have been on a mission to perfect its 2019 halftime performance.
The journey the Band of Gold has taken, through countless hours of practice and preparation, is fitting, as this year’s halftime show theme is “An Artist’s Journey.”
“The concept is the development of an artist (any genre..dance, music, acting, anything) from youth through the creation of their masterpiece,” said LCHS Band of Gold director Andrew Harwood. “Our musical and visual choices will represent this development as well. In part one you’ll see a lot of color and hear childish, less developed musical themes. Part two will show the next level of development of the artist and will feature music of John Lennon interwoven with works by J.S. Bach. Visual elements will also develop as our ‘artists’ grow more mature. Part three will depict an artist in their prime working on their ‘masterpiece’ seamlessly combining the works of Lennon, Bach and Beethoven. Some visual elements will include works by Ansel Adams and Vincent van Gogh.”
Much like the journey of the artist in the Band of Gold’s halftime show, LCHS band members have taken the steps necessary to see their hard work, creativeness and passion blossom into a masterpiece of sorts.
“We started in the spring with a week long marching camp, working on fundamentals, then a two day leadership seminar at Georgia State University and then summer practices for the Color Guard and Percussionists,” Harwood said. “In the last two weeks, the color guard and percussion section has put in over 80 hours in preparation/practice to help get the show on the field. The full band put in 40 hours of work last week and will be practicing another 12 hours this week. There are over 70 sets of drill, color guard choreography and memorized music to prepare. That’s in addition to simply learning how to march and play an instrument at the same time and make it sound good. We’ve also set the practice field up like a piece of graph paper broken into four step (22 1/2” step size) increments so that the students can set up our drill more quickly and accurately. They will have to learn and memorize the exact step size, location and counts for each set of drill. All while playing their instrument and performing choreography.”
Wanting to add more to the halftime show, Harwood and the Band of Gold members have worked extensively on making the theme of this year’s show more visually stunning for audiences.
“Audiences should expect to see a lot of movement, body visuals and color,” Harwood said. “Additionally, the musical arrangements blend many different songs from different genres and time periods in music. We’ve covered everything from Baroque to the Beatles.”
With all the hard work and preparation that has already been put into making the show a crowd-pleaser, Harwood was at a loss of words when it came to commending the Band of Gold members for their countless sacrifices and effort.
“Mere words can’t adequately express how proud I am of these students,” Harwood said. “This was my 13th camp here at LCHS and it has been the absolute best one. There is something different about this year’s band. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Our kids are always tremendous, but there’s something special about this group. They’re coming together more quickly than usual. I’m witnessing them working even more selflessly, efficiently, creatively and positively than usual. There’s a really strong cohesion developing within this year’s band. This group wants to put on the best show possible and they absolutely will.”
Lumpkin County fans will get the opportunity to see the culmination of all that hard work during halftime this season. But, the Band of Gold will also take the show on the road when they take part in three band competitions this school year.
“This year we are going to three competitions,” Harwood said. “Our first is October 5 at the Vanderbilt University Marching Band Invitational. This one is one I’m particularly excited about because it’ll be an opportunity for our students to see and perform in a major university’s stadium. We’ll have some additional costs getting up there but it’ll be worth it to compete at the next level against some really fine bands. Second is the North Georgia Marching Band Championships held at South Forsyth High School on October 26 and our last competition is the White Columns Invitational at Milton High School on November 2. Both of these are really competitive local competitions hosting some of the best bands in the state.”
Before the competitions, the Band of Gold will get one last opportunity to perfect its performance when it hosts an exhibition at the high school.
“We will be hosting an exhibition at LCHS on Sept. 28 where a few local marching groups and the LCHS Band of Gold will have an opportunity to perform once more before our competition schedule kicks in,” Harwood said.
The Band of Gold’s journey will also take them to Universal Studios this year.
“Finally, we’re planning a trip to Universal Studios to march in a parade in the theme park,” Harwood said. “This is going to be another tremendous opportunity for our students to experience what it’s like to travel to and perform on a really ‘big stage’. They’ll get a behind the scenes look at Universal Studios and then the opportunity to perform for thousands in the park.”