Band Camp is beginning of season for Medina Mustangs 

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Band has won last four state titles in small school division

Photos by Tom Rivers – Victoria Rice practices with the Colorguard today during band camp at Medina.

MEDINA – You don’t become a four-time defending state champion by taking it easy, even during the summer.

The Medina Mustang Marching Band has been studying their music all summer. The drum line, pit and Colorguard have been practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays since July 8.

This week, the entire 130-member Marching Band joined together for Band Camp, which includes eight hours of practice each day except for Friday, which runs for four hours.

Michael Busch, a freshman, has been looking forward to band camp all summer, even though he admitted it’s a big commitment.

“We’re learning a lot of new techniques,” said Michael, a third-year band member who plays the bells in the front ensemble.

Hannah Pask plays the xylophone with the front ensemble during Medina’s band camp today.

Marching band directors Jim Steele and Cheri Pritchard had a parking lot full of chalk markings, to let band members know their spots.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Steele, the high school band director. “But it’s very beneficial. We want to give the kids the opportunity to do something that not a lot of kids are afforded.”

Medina is one of only 58 districts in the state (out of about 700) that competes in the field band program. It’s the only district in Orleans County with a field band, which competes in the fall. Medina is the sixth smallest district in the state with a field band. But Medina has more participation in the program than many larger districts, Pritchard said.

“We attribute the size to the band being such a strong tradition at the school,” she said. “A lot of the parents of our students were in the band, too.”

The band is bigger this year. Steele said the numbers tend to go in cycles.

“We’re on an upswing in the cycle, which is great,” he said.

This year’s program is called “The Pursuit Of Gold,” and features a tribute to the Olympics. The band will show their parents what they learned with a preview of the show 7 p.m. Thursday.

Medina will host its annual Fall Festival of Bands on Sept. 21 when 12 bands will perform at Vets Park, including the band from University at Buffalo. About 1,000 spectators are expected for that event.

Vinnie Monacelli, the Colorguard instructor and drill designer, calls out instructions to students today.