By Quanae Miller
The sun is shining bright, beating down on the backs of determined students. Trumpets are blaring. The drum line along with the tubas are creating bass. The woodwinds are harmonizing the melodies together. Individuals are marching as one to create mesmerizing pictures.
The Tyler Junior College band is currently performing a show that loosely tells the history of TJC from 1926 to present. Two weeks before the start of school, they practiced every morning, afternoon and evening. The practices varied between an hour to an hour and 45 minutes.
Matthew O’Dea, a tuba player said, “We reset the show at least 10 times, but usually much more.”
According to a survey published on Reuters, 95 percent of college band members reported muscle soreness or stiffness after practice, and more than half experienced heat related illness. Halftime Mag says marching musicians face many of the same physical demands as top-notch athletes, often with the same potential for injury.
Studies show that marching band can be as strenuous as traditional sports. Marching band also has the danger of acquiring injuries similar to that of a track athlete.What studies show that?
O’Dea’s sousaphone weighs 20 pounds. He has to hold his it at a slight 90 degree angle for up to 20 minutes at a time.
While he is holding his instrument, he has to march in unison, play his music, and move his feet correctly.
O’Dea said that he also participates in an organization called Drum Corps Internationally (DCI). You move into dorms for two weeks to practice for competition. These young adults practice from 7 in the morning to almost midnight.
“They are marching every single day and getting in more shape than they probably have ever been in their life”, said O’Dea. He found out that during his training in DCI he gained almost 15 pounds of pure muscle.
He started the camp weighing 109 pounds, but left weighing 124. He says he has gained strength in his legs, but mostly in his arms from carrying his contra during long practices.
Damien Waites plays the clarinet but performs with the color guard during marching season. He says that he has lost about 30 pounds from when he started marching as a freshman in high school to a freshman in college.
“Band has literally changed my life around. … Band has been a part of me. …It’s an amazing thing to do,” said Waites.