2014 Sneak Peek
The Oak Grove ‘Sound of Panther Pride’
Marching Band concludes camp
Starts their season!

Thursday, August 7th The Sound of Panther Pride marching band gave their first performance of the season at the annual ‘sneak peek’. What began as a clever way to showcase the efforts of band camp to parents has become an anticipated community event. “I remember parents tailgating in front of the high school when we were still practicing on a real field and thinking – we should just put on a quick show on the final night of camp” explained Oak Grove director Beth Jinkins. The tradition continued as over 500 people gathered to get a preview of the 2014 competitive field show, watch student created section cheers and enjoy a community cook out sponsored by the Oak Grove Band Boosters.

The Oak Grove marching band looked large on the field of panther stadium as they aim to surpass last year’s record of 176 members. Over the last decade the Oak Grove band has been able to lay claim as the largest band in school history five times. The sheer size of the band is a testament, according to directors, to the incredible student leaders that rise to face the challenges involved throughout a competitive marching season. This years’ student leaders are helmed by drum majors Cayla Wilhoit, Madison Letzig, Bryce Fangmann and Jacob Blegen. “I’m excited about our band and our show after all the hard work we put in during camp” exclaimed senior Madison Letzig.

‘The Planets’ was chosen as the 2014 theme, which is the most famous musical suite by the English composer Gustav Holst. Holst composed music during the early part of the 20th century but it wasn’t until after the first world war that ‘The Planets’ suite grew in popularity. The suite, originally written for orchestra has been arranged for bands and will open with ‘Mars’, transition into ‘Venus’ and end with bits and pieces of ‘Jupiter’. “This may well be our most ambitious field show we’ve ever attempted,” stated director Nathan Long. “It’s probably some of my favorite music and I’m excited to see the show take shape,” added director Jon West.

Getting that band into shape over the course of six evenings requires additional staff that are hired through the band booster organization led by President Jill Vinke. This year’s camp staff included:

Carly Nance recent UCM grad and Odessa alum colorguard
Torri Hicks Oak Grove alum colorguard
Curt Edwards Oak Grove alum drumline
Matt Laemmli Oak Grove alum drumline
Nathan Gargus UCM music student drumline
Theresa Whawassuck Independence music teacher flutes
Rachel Smith Oak Grove alum and new elementary teacher clarinets
Effie Oldham Rockport music teacher saxophones
Mark Fangmann Oak Grove alum and UCM music student trumpets
Jeff Lawson FBC Oak Grove music minister trombones
Andy Weldon Leeton band director low brass
Roy Smith Oak Grove alum sousaphones

As the band began playing the opening ostinato of ‘Mars; The Bringer of War’ the audience was enthralled as all the various components within this complex organization came together in performance. “It looks like we’re ready for another fantastic marching season,” exclaimed drum major Jacob Blegen!

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