August 10, 2011 —
By Bill Mullaly
One sure sign that summer is coming to a close is the annual band camp that is held each August at Hudson High School. This past week the Hudson band campers were in full action preparing for the upcoming school year. The band, just like the football team, has to be ready to go for the season opener on August 26th. The first home game is Thursday, September 1st as Morenci comes to town and the band will be ready to go if band director Crystal Bough has her way. “We are working on having two songs ready for the start of football season,” said Bough, who is in her 11th year at Hudson with this also being her 11th year of running summer band camp. “We have a good group here at band camp and we will use this time to get going on a new year. We are working on the songs with the drills we need to know and working on the steps and formations. The band camp we hold each summer always helps get the students ready for the start of the school year. The big thing is that it gets them thinking and focusing on band.”
Bough had 48 students at the opening day of band camp last Monday on August 1st as the week-long event kicked off. “I am happy with the numbers as we had close to 50 students,” said Bough, who noted her biggest camp numbers were one time when the enrollment reached 60 students at band camp.”I am happy with the kids that are here but we would always like more. It seems that we get better attendance from the younger kids as the juniors and seniors always have scheduling conflicts with jobs and other interests.”
The students attend band camp for five days and go from 8:30 to 3:00 each day with time for lunch scheduled in. “We try to make it a learning experience and also fun for them,” said Bough, who noted another county school has camp from 8:00-8:00 each day for five days. “I think that would be way too much for our kids.”
The theme for this year for the band performances at home football games and for the county band performance is “Decades of Rock.” The band will be working on playing and marching to songs with one popular song from the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s and the first decade of the new century. “We are excited about the new theme for the songs we are going to play and I think the students are looking forward to the Decades of Rock songs we will play,” said Bough, who noted the students were holding up fine despite some hot weather for the start of band camp. “It has been hot but we have gone inside some and we are making it through the heat the best we can.”
Bough is pleased with the current state of the band program and with the numbers she has in both the high school and the middle school. “We have very good numbers in the high school with over 60 students signed up and great numbers in the middle school band program with over 70 kids signed up for band in grades 7 and 8th,” said Bough, who added. “I am very proud of the band program and where we are at this time as we are in a good place. The sixth grade band student count is 35 so we have lots of interest in our band program.”
When looking at some goals or things she would like to see the band do in the future Bough noted another trip to Florida would be nice. “I would like to see our band go back to Disney World,” said Bough, who noted it has been about five years since they last went south. “We last took a trip during spring break and that is something that we would like to do again.”
The band director had the help of several college students at the band camp in teaching fundamentals, working on techniques and developing skills. Jacob and Jessica Adams, Megan Cottrill, Thorn Merillat and Sarah Luma. “It has been fun helping out and I like coming back to help out at band camp,” said Luma, a 2011 Hudson graduate who is headed to Adrian College where she also might join up with the Bulldog band. “I came to band camp for several years and now I am back helping with the flutes.” Another key helper at the band camp was Cindy Hiser, of Reading, who helped out the week before at Jonesville’s band camp.
Students react to band camp
If sometime thinks the band students are just at camp to learn new songs and to improve their skills then they don’t know what band camp is really about. “I am here to hang out with my friends,” said junior Collin Cottrill, who plays the bari-sax as he calls the instrument. Logan Van Wieren will also be a junior playing the tenor-saxaphone and he is at camp for his second year. “I get to be with my friends and learn some new things,” said Van Wieren. Sean Murray is a sophomore and plays the trombone and he agrees with Van Wieren. “I am here to be with my friends and to learn some things,” said Murray.
Band director Bough has one special student as her son, David, was also at band camp as could be expected. “I love being here, of course, I do,” said Bough with a chuckle, who plays the mellophone. Another sophomore is Joe Weatherwax who plays the trumpet. “Being with my friends and hanging out is why I come to band camp,” said Weatherwax. Dakota Booker expressed his similar feelings about band camp. “I like being here learning new songs and being with my good friends,” said Booker, who plays the tuba. “It has been a good week but hot at times but we will get through it.”
Freshman to be Rachel Oldfield commented on her band camp experience. “Band camp is fun because you are learning new things and doing it in the summer will make it easier to remember stuff when school starts,” said Oldfield, who is part of the band’s color guard. A camper who was especially thrilled to be in camp was senior to be Erin Luma. “I am excited to be here and camp will really help me to develop my leadership skills,” said Luma. “I have a big year coming up as I am taking over from my sister, Sarah, in leading the band. It is quite an honor to replace her and to have such a key role in the band.”
Other band tidbits
Also, at the band camp was color guard coach Julie Wheeler who is in her second year with the color guard. Wheeler is also band booster club president. “I love the band and this is an awesome group of kids we have here at band camp,” said Wheeler. “I really enjoyed being involved with the band last year and I enjoy working with the kids. I think this will be a great year as the kids are wonderful and they are really working hard at camp.” Teri Moreno is the band booster vice president, while Melanie Gerig is the treasurer and Kristine Bloomer the secretary. “I have been helping at band camp all week and it has been a fun time working with these really good kids,” said Moreno.
The success of the band is due to many reasons and Bough know the importance of the band boosters. “They are always there for our band and the band students and we are quite fortunate to have such a supportive booster club,” said Bough. “All in all with everything we have going for us it is going to be another great year for the band. We had fun last year and going to Ford Field was really nice and the boosters really helped out with that trip. We would like going back there again this November.”
If the football team works just as hard as the band and has the same passion for success like that of the band, then they both might be going to Detroit on Thanksgiving weekend for the third straight year.