Silver Tarpon Band’s Got Brass

Special to the PRESS

The Port Isabel High Silver Tarpon Marching Band comes into the 2015 marching season a little larger in numbers overall, and that applies especially to the freshmen and sophomore classes.  There is no shortage of talent on hand particularly the brass section as much as any other part of the band.

All sections of the band have reported for practice and they are working separately this week to learn the new show for the 2015 marching season.  It’s a work in progress and in fact, as reported by head director of bands Scott Hartsfield on Monday, all of the music for the show has not yet been received from the composers.

“I’m still waiting for part three on the drums,” Hartsfield told the Press.  “Hopefully that will be in tomorrow.”

It’s about more than just receiving all parts of the finished product.  “We were waiting on copyright clearance for one of the tunes, and it took us awhile,” Hartsfield said.  “We’ve got to be very picky with all of that.”

Christa Valdez and John Otero are two of the aforementioned younger members of the brass contingent.  Valdez plays the baritone and Otero is a tuba player and, as sophomores, both are starting their second year in the Silver Tarpon band.

Valdez was asked about the difficulty of the music for the new show.  “It’s pretty easy,” she said.  “We learned all the music already, so we just need to go outside and march.”

Valdez loves being in the band and performing at the games on Friday nights, but she also very much enjoys the games themselves.  “My dad was a football player and my cousin, Javy Hernandez, is one of the quarterbacks.  I watch him – he’s really great.”

Otero thinks the brass section is coming along nicely in practices so far this summer.  “Everything seems to be progressing.  Our section is stable.  We lost some seniors – now we have just one.  All the trombones sound great.”

Otero also does not mind all the time that goes into the preparation of the show weeks before classes even start.  “At my house I don’t do anything, so I don’t mind spending my time on the marching band.”

Senior Itzel Hernandez is a four-year veteran in the marching band and she recognizes the role of experienced members in helping the younger student/musicians along.  “Next week the freshmen will be learning how to march and all the veterans will be learning their step-offs and stuff.  Then we’ll start putting sets on the field and put everything together.  It’s going to happen fast.”

Valdez isn’t bothered by the 8 a.m. practices; “It’s not hard.  The only thing hard about it is being sore all the time because a baritone is heavy.  Your arms get sore from holding it.”

Full participation is important for a band to be really good and members are expected to attend all practices, but excused absences are allowed in certain instances.  The schedule is sometimes adjusted according to various circumstances.

“With the bass drums we had some kids who were out on vacation last week,” Hartsfield said Monday.  “And some kids are working.  I don’t want to tell a kid, ‘You can’t be in band because you were on vacation.’  I’m not going to do that.  So right now we’re behind with the bass drum section.  (They’re) going to be in here at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, an hour before everybody in the band.  So we’re moving the schedule around a little bit in order to get everything done.”

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