On August 5 the fifty student members of the Gobles High School Marching Band began work together on the new show, and after a week of blisters and aching muscles, students are off to the kind of start director Emily Cox was hoping for.
"We had a great week of camp, and we definitely needed to," Cox said. "The band lost a big and really talented group of seniors to graduation last year, so we needed young kids to step into leadership roles, and they have. We have very challenging music this season. This is the first summer when every single section of the band got together multiple times for section rehearsals, so kids came to camp prepared. That allowed us to add more visual effects and movements in at band camp than we ever have before, even with such a young group of kids."
Cox said that the band has developed a reputation for excellence in recent years, and the kids feel responsible for that. "There is a drive to be excellent in the atmosphere of our band," she said. "The kids like being together, they like working together and pushing each other, but there also great friendships all over the band, and that makes a tremendous difference. They've got each other's backs."
Having each other's back is the same message coaches are pushing with students on the courts and fields, too. Varsity football coach Jim Wiseley said that the traditions of Gobles can't be taken for granted, they have to be earned. Teams have to come together. He likes what he sees in his group so far.
"My group works hard, and I like that," Wiseley said. "We tell them that's the main factor in being able to continue the Gobles tradition. Being successful doesn't come easy, and it can't be done by one or two individuals on their own; we're all in it together. That's why the team is doing with community service on Wednesday of our first week of practice. That's why we tell kids to pick each other up after every play, learn from mistakes, and get right back after the goals we set. Hard work and teamwork: there's no other way."
Like we do every school year at this time, the schools, teams, and community of Gobles welcomes new students and families to the Gobles Public Schools family. New students are still able to join teams and the marching band, plus can register for school in the district offices, or the main offices of the two school buildings during regular business hours.
When band camp ended on August 9 it included a sneak preview of the marching show for parents. Cox told the 100-person crowd that she likes how the band looks and sounds, and more, what band will teach them this year.
"I am excited about the theme of this year's show," Cox said. "The concept is that one person can make a change for positive. One choice at a time, individuals can change the world. For me this goes beyond just learning music and marching. I want my students to understand that through tough situations, conflicts in their lives, individuals can be courageous, powerful, and triumphant. This is a message I want my students to learn for their lives."
So begins the next school year, already, with messages and sounds of excellence, community, hard work, and togetherness. Messages that will continue through the school year, and help carry on the Gobles way, where we like the way success sounds.