New Drum Major, Percussionists Ready to Go

Special to the PRESS

A new drum major, and nine members of the Port Isabel High Silver Tarpon Marching Band percussion section, all began preparations this week for the 2015 marching season.  Your high school instrumental music reporter managed to catch a few of these student/musicians before practice began one day this week, and they shared their thoughts about their involvement with the band.

Junior Derek Valdez will be the new drum major for the Silver Tarpon band this year.  He was one of five band members who auditioned for the job.  He attended a three-day camp this week for Lower Rio Grande Valley high school drum majors in Harlingen.

“We’re learning different patterns and different ways of not only conducting the music but actually to feel the music,” Valdez told the Press.  “We’re learning about how kids react in different ways … how to talk to them, how to teach them.”

Each day’s session went from 9:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon, with an hour off for lunch.

“We’re taking notes and we do hourly sessions on different things that we have to go over.  There are 20 to 22 kids from around the Valley.  There are rookies and people who already have experience.”  The three-day camp ended Wednesday.

Sophomore Freddy Cimermancic is starting his third year in the Silver Tarpon band and thinks head director Scott Hartsfield is putting together a first-rate show.  “I think it’s going to be a really cool show.  The kids are learning a lot faster.  They might be rookies but they’re catching on like they’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Cimermancic will play mainly the marimba for marching season but will probably spend time on snare drum and tympani when concert season comes around.

Eighth-grader Katy Stiers is another of the talented junior high musicians who is being brought up to the high school marching band a year early.  She talked about getting up early to make it to these 8:00 A.M. practices; “It’s a little hard but once you get used to it you just come.”

Stiers looks forward to the season-opening football game at home on August 28; “I want to perform in front of everybody.”

Another eighth-grade member of the frontal ensemble is Monica Sandoval, and this is actually her second year with the Silver Tarpon band.  She plays accessory instruments, such as cymbals.  “Right now I’m doing the suspended cymbal, the China cymbal, and the “sizzle” cymbal.  I think we’re going to do pretty well because we’re catching up on a lot of stuff.  It sounds pretty good.”

Frontal ensemble practice ran through Thursday of this week and no practices are scheduled for next week.  Bass drums, tenors, and snares will start coming in July 13th, and the band as a whole will assemble for its first practice July 15th.

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