High School Bands Keeping The Beat In The Heat

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Keeping children safe in this week's extreme heat is a concern for school districts who have already started band and football practice.

That includes students taking part in band camp at Lewisburg High School in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Despite an empty practice field, camp is in full swing. It's all part of the plan to keep students safe during this week's heat wave.

"We don't go outside after noon. In the morning, we do our seven to twelve or about eight to twelve outside. Then we're inside the rest of the day," says Lewisburg director of bands Kim Hallmark.

For students, the heat is just part of life as a band member, even if it takes some adjusting.

"We got used to summer. We got used to relaxing on the couch. Now getting back out in it, if some of the people in the band haven't been used to it, having to come out in it now, it's a big change," says Bailey Jones, a senior drum major at Lewisburg.

Lewisburg principal Chris Fleming says safety is priority number one for everyone involved. When students do spend time outside, there's unlimited water and plenty of supervision to keep everyone safe. 

"We'll have breaks. Like five minute breaks, ten minutes breaks to go get water and hydrate ourselves every ten minutes," says Landon Pugh, a junior drum major at Lewisburg. "We're always filled with water. It's to the point where it's almost, you don't want to drink anymore water."

"One of our staff members is also a nurse, so we have her on hand. Our staff is always watching and kid of keeping an eye on the students," says Hallmark.

In the end, students say the heat can even be a tool for becoming better musicians.

"This is the hardest part of our band season, our band camp. We focus on not only being number one, not only winning. We focus on being the best we can be," says Jones.

The band gets help from the community, as well. A nearby church will deliver Gatorade to these practices to help the students stay hydrated. Parents also volunteer their time during camp.

The students must be doing something right. In the program's ten year history, Lewisburg High School's band has won state six different times, including last year.


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