Marching band students prepare for competition

HARLINGEN — The line of trumpets glistened in the late morning sun, their players moving in unison across the parking lot of Harlingen High School.

It was the third day of Summer Band Camp and students at both Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South busily worked on their shows for this year.

At Harlingen High School, music rushed from trumpets, saxophones, trombones and other instruments as the “ding-ding-ding” of a metronome set the pace. Band Director Ronnie Rios stood on a tower directing 200 students through the movements of this year’s show, “Fall of Rome.”

They’ll perform the show at UIL competitions this year as well as the fast-approaching football games.

“OK, from the opening,” Rios called out.

The young musicians moved again with almost mathematical precision across the parking lot.

“Right now, we’re practicing drill,” said Samuel Infante, 17, who plays piano with the band.

“They are going from one space to another,” said Samuel, a senior. “That’s how the show progresses.”

A few miles away, another eager marching band of 173 musicians had its Summer Band Camp, practicing in the parking lot of Harlingen High School South.

“Alright, here we go,” said Band Director Shane Shinsato, giving the word to practice their movements across hot asphalt while blowing in to their brass and wind winds, their festive music punctuated by the “boom, boom, boom” of drums.

The color guard dashed about in front of the band, whirling purple flags which seemed to reflect the carnival-like nature of the performance.

The students took frequent water breaks, crucial in the August heat. Trumpet player Cristian Palacios took a swig of water and then spoke about their show “H20.”

“They are trying their hardest to get their music memorized,” said Cristian, 17, a senior.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “It has some beautiful movements. I enjoy the first movement.”

Shinsato was pleased with the students’ progress. He and Rios, he said, have basically the same goals, but different ways of approaching those goals, which are presenting students with challenging music and a dynamic show.

“Our music is quite challenging,” he said. “We have (time signature) changes from 4/4, to 2/4, 3/4 and 6/4, and multiple keys. They are doing fantastic. There’s a huge level of enthusiasm.”

Everyone seemed to enjoy the morning’s activities.

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