Band practices with a purpose
When it comes to music, some people prefer a faster beat, whereas others like it when the bass is turned down low.
None of this stood as a problem to the students, family and alumni sitting beneath the stadium lights at Lockport Township High School football field last weekend.
Summer is over and school is in session at LTHS, which means the Marching Porters are gearing up for another year of competition.
In preparation, the marching band hosted its third-annual Practice-A-Thon from 8 a.m. -9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 at Lockport Township High School.
Brian Covey, marching band director, said the event aims not only to raise funds to support the ensemble but also to raise awareness for the band program and share the product that students have been working on.
The Marching Porters will kickoff their competition season with the Lake Park Lancer Joust from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at Lake Park High School.
This year, the ensemble has more than 150 students, including 16-year-old Abby Morgan, of Lockport. This junior has been a member of the Marching Porters for two years and now serves as a student conductor.
Morgan said the upcoming competition schedule seems a little nerve wrecking, but the way the Marching Porters are practicing this year puts her at ease.
“It’s a completely different feel,” she said, noting the ensemble’s focus and desire to succeed as seen during band practice.
As a brass player, she added that it’s unique that she’s serving as a drum major on the field.
She said instrumentalists in her section are often needed during competitions and festivals so they aren’t offered positions as conductors.
Over the past three years, the Marching Porters has seen expansion, increasing its instrumental membership by 20-30 students and more than doubling the number of those participating in color guard.
“We attribute this to the passion and energy that our students bring to the activity, but also the support that the community and area school have shown in support of events in which the group participates,” Covey said.
The enthusiasm that Marching Porters possess is nothing new, however. The ensemble first started gaining awards for their performances and musicianship in 1935, taking second place in a state competition and a number of other honors since then.
“We treat the process as an educational experience, supporting and enhancing what occurs during the curricular school day musically,” Covey said. “The students and directors enjoy the opportunity to present these skills at the competitions, where we also receive feedback to advance our performances and musicianship.“
He added that success is due in part because of the opportunities made available to students, allowing them to travel around the state and nation, and the musicians they’re working alongside, as well.
For those who were unable to attend the Practice-A-Thon, the Lockport Township band accepts donations on an ongoing basis, whether it’s through concessions, car washes or monetary contributions. Those interested can contact Keith Matushek, president of Lockport Band Boosters, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org