The Pride of Ardmore is preparing to march into the upcoming school year with a weeklong crash course in leadership.
The leadership workshop will kick off about two weeks of band camp leading up to the start of classes. Assistant Band Director John Moreno said the week is all about learning how to lead by example and set goals for the section leaders and drum majors.
“We’ll be teaching the marching style, teaching them fundamentals,” Moreno said. “That way when it’s their turn to break out and teach their peers, they know exactly what we’re looking for.”
Moreno said they’ve also been learning non-confrontational leadership and teaching skills.
“To make sure they make themselves available, especially to the freshmen who are coming in who will be brand new,” Moreno said. “It’s a lot, even with three of us, to make sure students get individual attention, so we rely on student leaders.”
Leadership camps like this one play a vital role for band. With such a large organization, section leaders and drum majors do just as much teaching as learning. Band is the largest student organization at the high school with more than 80 students.
Trumpet section leader Linh Nguyen and Drum Major Brianna Brown were among the students who attended the camp. Both are headed into their senior year. They spent the afternoon setting goals for the year, reviewing marching fundamentals and cleaning the band hall with their fellow students.
“It’s mostly a refresher, and it’s kind of getting us back together after the summer and building relationships even stronger,” Brown said.
Both said that to lead, personal needs have to be put aside for the group’s sake.
“A good section leader needs to know how to lead, but also to lead in the right direction,” Nguyen said. “They also need to put their needs aside to help the section out.”
Incoming freshmen will start learning how to march this week, a skill that’s new to them.
“In middle school they’re just sitting and playing,” Aaron said. “Now, they’re moving all around the field and playing. It’s more coordination.”
Aaron said team building is another important aspect of the camp.
“One of the hardest things as a freshman is to become part of the group,” Aaron said.
The Pride of Ardmore will kick off the school year with a community pep rally from 6 to 8 p.m. August 18 at Noble Stadium.