Groups of students jam the band hall. Some are splayed on the ground, others lean or sit on whatever they can find.
After three hours of marching practice outdoors, they’re tired.
New Wildcat band members began practice July 22, with veterans returning July 27.
A week and half into the grueling practice schedule, the students are ready for more.
Kimberly Taylor, a senior in the color guard, said she can’t wait for football games.
“I love football games. We’re the reason everyone’s hyped up,” she said.
Taylor, a self-proclaimed extrovert, said being in color guard helps her express her outgoing nature.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I love meeting new people.”
But band isn’t just about fun for Taylor.
“Being in the color guard, we kind of put color to the music. They play the soundtrack and we’re the picture for it,” the 17-year-old said.
Senior Stephanie Lamm plays the French horn in the band. The 17-year-old said she enjoys band because it’s a family atmosphere.
“We work together and we’re a team,” she said. “But it’s not just that. When we have a problem, whether it’s band related or not, we can come to each other and talk about it.”
Lamm said the band spends 90 percent of their time together during the first semester of the school year, which helps cultivate the feeling of being surrounded by family.
“We’re together a lot. A lot a lot,” she said.
Band Director Bill Allred said the 180-member band is practicing for contest season which begins in October with a regional contest in Arlington, Texas.
He said while the band always strives to be their best in competition, the act of being in the band teaches the students important life lessons.
“Number one is teamwork. Band is the ultimate in teamwork. You can’t rebound and shoot again. You get one shot at band performance,” Allred said.
Allred said being in any group teaches students life lessons, like people skills.
“The students have the opportunity to be a section leader or a band officer,” he said. “And they learn how to deal with people’s emotions which is an important thing to know. We’re demanding on them not just for the sake of the band being number one, but to teach them the life skills that will help them be successful,” Allred said.
The director said band also gives students something they can be proud of, lifelong memories, and a sense of accomplishment.
“I know these are all cliché answers, but that’s what it truly is,” he said. “If I had a nickel for every time someone in the community told me ‘I was in Norvil Howell’s band and we went to this competition and what great memories,’” he said.
The band’s first event of the year is its annual fundraiser, the March-a-thon. It is from 8 a.m. until noon Aug. 15.