Johnstown Independent

Big Red band hits camp to fine-tune halftime show

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Johnstown High School's Big Red band is preparing to rock the community this fall marching season.

Director Joe Carver said the halftime show would feature the 1980s rocker Alice Cooper's School's Out, No More Mr. Nice Guy and Poison.

The 180-plus-member band spent July 28-Aug. 1 at band camp at the Ohio Ministries and Retreat Center in Marengo.

"We've had a fantastic camp," Carver said. "The weather has been a dream. We got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. We're starting with an Alice Cooper show with the '80s rock I love."

A banner displayed at camp read, "The Class of 2014: Kings & Queens of Rock."

Big Red band underclassmen and staff members paid tribute to 43 seniors July 31.

Music director Jeff Rings cooked a special dinner featuring a choice of lasagna or fettuccini, a salad and garlic toast.

Underclassmen stood and applauded the seniors as they were ushered into a commons area for the dinner. Each senior has place cards and a bag of gifts, including letters written to them by family and friends.

Senior Sierra Reynard, who plays clarinet, said it is a special night.

"We get recognized for all our hard work in band," she said. "Some of us have been in marching band four or five years. It's hard to take it all in. It's a big deal for them to put on this big dinner."

Senior McCalah Mast said band has been life-changing for her.

"I can't imagine not being in band," said McCalah, who plays flute. "I have made so many good friends and memories the last three years. Tonight was a really good night to relive that. It's bittersweet."

Senior saxophone player Gary Harper said it's special to be a member of the Big Red band that represents almost half of the students at JHS.

"It's one of the best experiences I've ever had," he said. "You get close to people in a short amount of time. It's something special being in this band."

Senior Auston Poore said band has been amazing.

The drummer, who mounted a small fan onto his instrument, said band camp has been a lot more fun than he had expected.

New high school principal Michael Heath checked out the band, which is a show band, for the first time during camp.

"I was in marching band and a music teacher," Heath said. "I was in a competitive band. It's so different for me. The kids love what they're doing. They're smiling and having a good time. It's a testament to what Joe has done and the community has sponsored."

Heath said he liked that the students wanted to perform some of their favorite tunes for him, like Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls.

"The fact the kids wanted to show things to me is cool," he said. "As a former music person, I appreciate that."

Big Red is scheduled to march at the Pataskala Street Fair on Aug. 17, and it kicks off the marching season at Johnstown High School on Aug. 30, when the Johnnies play host to Chillicothe.

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