August is a time for school supply shopping and looking forward to the beginning of high school football, but is also full of long days in the heat and humidity for those in marching band.
Every summer hundreds of students across Central Georgia practice on the field, not with pads and helmets, but with musical instruments.
Meteorologist Matt Daniel went to Mary Persons High school to spend time with their band. He was in marching band for a total of nine years – including the UGA Redcoats.
“Marching band builds leadership abilities and long lasting friendships. I drove over to Forsyth to see the Bulldog Brigade who knows what it takes to put a show on the field,” said Daniel.
It requires discipline, determination and dedication. The Marching Band at Mary Persons has grown to nearly 100 members with students from 8th to 12th grade.
They bring the halftime entertainment on Friday nights and travel to band competitions striving for superior ratings.
Lindsey Martin, a junior on the auxiliary team, loves to compete on the field.
“Competitions are my favorite part. Just being able to win, like we really want to have high scores this year and just being able to watch all the other marching bands play is just beautiful,” said Martin.
Band camp can consist of long hours in the heat and humidity, but band director Eric Thompson is always watching over the well-being of the band.
“The kids’ safety is our number one priority when we are out here. We want the show to be great, we want them to sound great, but we also know it's just band and we don't want anyone to get injured,” said Thompson.
It takes up a lot of time, but can teach students like Assistant Band Captain Addie Sparks the importance of juggling life and academics.
“It helps with time management skills definitely, but it's manageable. It's a balance,” said Sparks.
“Things like marching band are a great opportunity for them to be able to see what it's like to not have instant gratification, but to work hard to achieve something great,” said Thompson.
It's those lessons that students like Myles Johnson and Drew Edge say they'll carry off the field.
“Learn how to be a better man. You know leading to a better life and I heard that it'll lead to better things in the future,” said Drum Major Myles Johnson.
“Do it because you will learn things and you will gain things that you will never ever get anywhere else. It's just amazing,” said Band Captain Drew Edge.
Next time you attend a high school football game, cheer on the players carrying the ball and those holding the brass.
The Bulldog Brigade will take to the field at halftime Thursday night when Mary Persons takes on Houston County for its first game of the season. The game is 5:45 p.m. at Mercer University.