Report from band camps

Many high school band camps done for the summer

One thing that all bands have in common is the shared, infamous experience of band camp.

Some bands have already finished their annual rite while several more are currently on the field, tirelessly drilling notes and sets. The US Scholastic Band Association caught up with some bands around the circuit to see what they’ve been up to all summer.

Northwest High School, Germantown, Md.

The 2011 Marching Jaguars band met a few times over the course of the summer prepping for their band camp which happens the middle two weeks of August.

The NHS band started their full day rehearsals at the high school last week. According to members and parents the students are cruising along and making significant progress through their second week of camp. The group is looking forward to finishing up band camp with a nearly finished product because in addition to a full season of USSBA events they are hosting their annual local show at the school on Sept. 17 and anticipate another great event.


King Philip High School, Wrentham, Mass.

The King Philip band annually has a two-week band camp with the first week comprising of afternoons and evenings at the school in Wrentham and then the whole program packs up and moves to Maine for an intensive one week residential band camp.

The annual championship contenders spent significant time rehearsing but managed to also work hard at having fun, filling the days and evenings with campfires and the infamous "Band Camp Olympics" featuring egg tosses and sack relays.

Having just returned from their week in the woods the band continues to meet for evening rehearsals until school starts on Sept. 1. The 2011 Pride and Passion have been working and sweating in anticipation of a full season including their home show on Oct. 1st, regional and national championships and the new USSBA event being hosted at U. Mass. Amherst on Oct. 8.

texas hs

MacArthur High School, Irving, Texas

The 100-plus members of the Mac band have been hard at work for most of the summer.

After taking the month of June off the band met once a week through July to prepare the music for the season. Summer band started in earnest Aug. 1 with two weeks of full-day rehearsals and an additional week of evening-only rehearsals. It was all leading up to their annual “Meet the Band” performance last Friday where they put on their 2011 production of "Firebird" for a full crowd of supporters.

School started this week and the rehearsals continue through the Texas heat prepping the band for their Texas Region contests and the USSBA North Texas State Championships this November.

Huntington High School, Huntington, N.Y.

The Huntington Blue Devils are in the middle of a week-long band camp being held at the middle school. In addition to the usual staff, the week is featuring guest clinician and tech Jon Swengler, USSBA band relations representative.

“I started to work for the USSBA because I love band and teaching band camp is a great way for me to stay connected. It’s been a fun week so far and it’s a really great group of kids, I love to watch them learn” Swengler shared during a break from the field.

The band is gearing up for the competitive season and will continue working toward perfection for their performance at the USSBA New York State Championships held at Hofstra University Oct. 23.


Jackson Memorial High School, Jackson, N.J.

The 175-member Jaguar band got together informally over the summer to attend a drum corps show but the two-week band camp is the first time the band has met to rehearse for the fall.

The band is in the middle of their two-week camp, comprised of full days at the high school. Tonight they celebrate their accomplishments with a special preview performance for friends and family.

The band is eager to share their 2011 program “Encore, Encore!” through a full USSBA season including performing in the first-ever USSBA "A" Class National Championship in Allentown on the weekend of Nov. 12 and 13.

Chattahoochee High School, Johns Creek, Ga.

The summer version of the Chattahoochee Cougar Band starts in late July although the section leadership members got together in early June to work out everything they needed to do to support the rest of the band.

In addition to the familiar day of uniform fittings, the band spends two weeks putting together their program. The first week is at the high school getting the basics together. For the second week of camp the band moves into a residential camp location and spends an intensive week of rehearsal and team building games.

The group is especially excited to put the finishing touches on the 2011 program “The Way of the Korean Warrior” as after a year away, the CHS Band will yet again be playing host for a USSBA contest, the USSBA Georgia Regional Oct 15. The band also intends on returning to Chattanooga for the 2011 Southern States Championship in November.

North Penn High School, Lansdale, Pa.

The North Penn Marching Knights stay active for most of the summer.

This band starts each new season with late spring preliminary sessions with new members followed by a three-day mini-camp in June. There are non-mandatory rehearsals once a week through July.

Once August hits, the number of rehearsals pick up until band camp which is four days starting at noon and going until 9 at night.

YEA! staffer Eric Kitchenman is in Lansdale working with the band this week and shared that North Penn is excited to be inviting middle school musicians to join the band in learning an additional show which will only be performed at home football games. He says the new “football band” has 60 additional students joining the Marching Knights.

The band is excited to be presenting the competitive program, “Flight” at a number of local USSBA events in addition to their appearances at the USSBA Yamaha Cup and State and National Championships.

Sign up for the season

Share your band camp stories with the USSBA community on Facebook and sign up for your USSBA season by contacting Jon Swengler at 610-821-0345 ext. 113 or email


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