Cavaliers Marching Band kicked off band camp this week, not by working toward a trophy — but by tuning their musical skills and self-perception.
Kyle Adelmann, band director at La Salle-Peru Township High School, said competitive marching band does not have a defense like other competitions. Instead, Adelmann wants his students to focus on their own skills and to feel confident about their performances.
“We only have control over what we can do,” Adelmann said. “I feel counterproductive by being competitive.”
The two-week camp started Monday and will continue every day 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Adelmann wants his 84 students to focus on learning their musical compositions and pre-game selection for home football games. The pre-game selection is where the band plays the fight song during home football games.
The band’s drum majors, Madison Schaefer, 14, and Lindsey Mayper, 17, said they are proud of last year’s season and want to maintain their momentum, but like Adelmann, they are also not too worried about a trophy.
“Mr. (Kyle) Adelmann always says it is not about the trophy, but how we feel about ourselves,” Mayper said.
For example, last year sometimes the band felt like it would place in a competition, but would not, Mayper said. Then other times, the members of the band felt discouraged about their performance, and they would suddenly place in a competition, she said.
Adelmann said there is not one uniform competition for high school bands to compete in. Some competitions will classify each band by school size or sometimes by band size, which creates differences in the judging within each competition.
The band has a lot to learn before the first home football game scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30 against New Lenox’s Lincoln-Way North High School, Adelmann said.
Throughout the day Monday, band members broke into groups by their musical instrument to help memorize their compositions, Adelmann said.
Taylor Faletti, 17, said students are not afraid to help each other at camp, and want to make each other feel as if the band is their home away from home.
After playing the flute in the band since her freshman year, Faletti said she does not mind helping other flute players learn their compositions and wants everyone to do their best at the competition and the games. She also wants the younger players to feel at home during band camp.
Right now, Faletti said she is helping others, such as freshman, Rachel Haas, 14, to adjust to camp and even to high school.
While Haas is learning music, she is most worried about learning the marching routine, and she will seek Faletti’s help throughout camp.
After the musical sections, the group will get together in the afternoon to put all their practice to work on the field.
By the end of band camp, Schafer, Mayper and Adelmann want all members of the band to memorize their music, and have the pre-game arraignment prepared.
For the halftime show and competition, the band is working on arrangements from Beethoven this season, and the band members want to get to work on preparing for those selections soon.
Elizabeth Edwards can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.